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Is It a Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest? What's the Difference?

October is National Cardiac Arrest Month so we wanted to spread the word and clear up some confusion about heart attacks and cardiac arrest. Although the general public tends to use the terms interchangeably, the conditions are very different and are treated differently. Think of cardiac arrest as an electrical issue and heart attack as a plumbing issue.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs when there is a clog in the pipes (arteries). When there is a block in an artery, blood is prevented from getting to the heart which can cause the heart muscle to die. The longer the artery remains blocked, the more damage it can do.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack - Symptoms of a heart attack may appear immediately but most likely, the symptoms may appear over hours, days or even weeks before the heart attack occurs. The earlier the symptoms are recognized and the person receives medical attention, the more likely the person is to have a positive outcome.

What is a Cardiac Arrest?

A cardiac arrest is an electrical issue in the heart. This electrical issue causes an abnormal heartbeat and blood can't be pumped to the brain, lungs or other organs. Within the seconds the person is unresponsive and death is impending unless CPR is started and an AED is used. To increase this person's chance of survival CALL 9-1-1, START CPR and USE AN AED! If you don't know CPR, call us to sign up for an American Heart Association CPR AED class now.

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