To understand sudden cardiac arrest, it’s important to learn about arrhythmias. Arrhythmia is a condition that primarily affects the electrical system in charge of regulating the beating of the heart. Arrhythmia can cause the heart to beat too slowly (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia).
The most common type is called atrial fibrillation, which causes a faster than normal and irregular heartbeat.
Specifically, ventricular fibrillation is usually the culprit of cardiac arrest as this type of arrhythmia causes the ventricles to stop pumping blood.
A sudden cardiac arrest may happen without any warning. A person suffering from a cardiac arrest may:
- Suddenly collapse or faint (syncope).
- Stop breathing, and have no pulse.
Warning signs of an impending cardiac arrest include:
- Feeling discomfort in the chest.
- Feeling weak.
- Irregular or faster than normal heartbeats (palpitations).
How is a heart attack different from cardiac arrest?
How is a heart attack different from a cardiac arrest? A heart attack and cardiac arrest are both serious medical emergencies that can lead to serious injuries or even death, in some cases. However, they aren’t the same.
A heart attack can occur because of a clot or blockage located in the coronary artery, which greatly reduces or cuts off blood flow to the heart. A cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops beating, due to irregularities in a person’s heart beat.
To put it simply, a heart attack results from an issue in circulation while a cardiac arrest is caused by disruptions in the heart’s regular beating. If you’re wondering what’s more serious between a heart attack versus a cardiac arrest, then it’s a tie as both of these medical emergencies can put you or a person’s life in grave danger.
However, a link also exists between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrests can happen after or during the recovery period of a heart attack. This is because heart attacks can get in the way of the mechanism in charge of regulating your heartbeat.
What About a Stroke?
A stroke is another medical emergency, but it doesn’t necessarily involve the heart. A stroke happens when the blood flow to the brain is reduced or interrupted. When the blood lacks blood and oxygen, brain cells will start to die. A stroke can also cause the following symptoms: