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What's the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack?

Posted: 11:09 AM, Sep 15, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-15 19:34:24Z
This month's "Rally For Red" story started like many stories start - with a question from a viewer.
 
What's the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack?
 
 
In cardiac arrest, the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating. A heart attack happens when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked.
 
Still confused?
 
Think of the heart like a house. You have electrical and you have plumbing.
 
Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem - a problem with the beat.
 
A heart attack is like a plumbing problem - it has to do with circulation.
 
In a heart attack, the person is awake and the heart is beating. In cardiac arrest, that same person would not be awake and the heart would not be beating.
 
Symptoms of a heart attack can start slowly and last for hours, days, or even weeks before the heart attack happens.
 
Cardiac arrest happens suddenly and often without warning.
 
Finally, in the case of a heart attack, a patient needs 911. In a cardiac arrest, they need 911, immediate CPR, and a defibrillator.

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