Sudden Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack
When it comes to heart ailment and failure, most people mistake cardiac arrest for heart attack. Although both usually have the same ending, the two actually come about for two different reasons.
Understanding Heart Attack
The organs in your body need oxygen in order to function. Your heart is no exception to this. If oxygen-laden blood is unable to flow through your heart, you would most likely suffer from a heart attack. Medically speaking, heart attack also goes by the name of myocardial infarction. Now, there are many ways blood supply to the heart can get cut off. One of the most common, however, is the build up of plaque along the walls of the blood vessels. Known as arteriosclerosis, this typically happens when you have a high level of bad cholesterol.
Heart attack, however, does not have to mean death sentence for anyone. In fact, over the last few years, the survival rate for victims of heart attack is on the rise. This does not, however, mean that you would be okay after a heart attack. Generally, suffering from one would mean scars; and, depending on your general health, your heart could become weak and more susceptible to further heart attack.
Because of its nature, the typical first aid for heart attacks would involve CPR. Since this condition does not involve any interference in the electrical activity of the heart, the use of an AED might not be effective.
Understanding Sudden Cardiac Arrest
As opposed to heart attack, cardiac arrest deals more with the electrical activity of the heart. In order to understand Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), you first have to understand how your heart’s electrical activity works. The heart has a special clump of cells known as the myocardial contractile cells are responsible for the rhythm of the heart – the usual lub-dub that we know of. Certain factors such as the intense physical activity, low potassium levels in the blood, and certain inherited disorders can give rise to SCA. Individuals who have suffered before from heart attack are also at a higher risk for SCA. Keep in mind though that even those who appear to be healthy can suffer from SCA. In an SCA, a disruption of the normal pattern of the heart beat takes place.
While the survival rate of a heart attack has been on the rise, the same cannot be said for SCA. A few minutes of delay in medical attention could spell the difference between life and death for a person.
What to Do
Because the two have different causes, the way to deal with them would also differ. Simply put, a heart attack would respond better to a CPR, or a continuous chest compression until, at least, the medical professionals are able to take over the patient.
On the other hand, a Sudden Cardiac Arrest situation needs something that would allow to heart to jump back to its normal rhythm. That being the case, chest compression would not have much of an impact; instead, an AED would be the best option.