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Though both cardiac arrest and heart attack are used interchangeably and look alike, there is a huge difference between them. People usually misunderstands symptoms of heart attack like chest pain, headache, fatigue, tiredness and others as cardiac arrest, hence knowing the difference between cardiac arrest vs heart attack and how does they affect us is very crucial in order to save a life. Below let us quickly learn what exactly are cardiac arrest and heart attack? Their symptoms and most importantly the difference between these two.

Heart Health


Cardiac attack is a condition where heart does not pump well, it stops beating, whereas heart attack is a condition where circulation to the heart is restricted due to the blockage in the artery. Here are few facts about both the conditions along with their symptoms.

  • Cardiac arrest– This is a condition raised due to hearts electric malfunctioning. In this condition the heart stops beating suddenly due to which the circulation to the brain and other organs stops. This is an emergency condition, where death may also occur if the individual does not receive proper treatment within few minutes. Causes of cardiac attack may include heart attack, coronary heart diseases, congenital heart diseases and so on.
  • Heart attack– This is a condition raised due to blockage in the coronary artery, due to which part of the heart do not get any circulation and begin to die. This blockage is due to buildup of plaque inside the artery. Heart attack is said to be a cause of cardiac arrest, as it leads to abnormal heart rhythm. Risk factors of heart attack include high cholesterol, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and so on.

Cardiac arrest vs heart attack

As discussed earlier most of the people use these words for single purpose i.e. when they have pain in chest, but there is a huge difference starting from causes, symptoms and others.

Cardiac arrest

Heart attack

Cardiac attack is a condition where the

heart stops beating forever due to

electric malfunctioning in the heart.

Heart attack is a condition where the

heart does not stop beating but the

circulation to the heart gets blocked due

to build up of plaque in the arteries.

People with this condition do not have

any pre symptoms i.e. there are no pre

cardiac arrest symptoms. As soon as

the attack occurs individuals falls

unconscious, faces breathlessness,

their face turns into blue color and if

timely treatment is not provided, they

may collapse.

Heart attack symptoms include pain

and discomfort in chest, arm, upper

abdomen and so on. These symptoms generally begin slowly and may persist

for days to weeks before the attack.

Individuals heart stops beating then and

there and the person may also die if

emergency assistance is not provided.

Heart beating does not stop in this

condition, whereas, the longer you

delay the treatment the greater risk and

damage awaits.

Safety steps

Both cardiac arrest and heart attack are emergency conditions and they should be treated immediately. Cardiac arrest is reversible in few people if timely treatment is provided, one should also give CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) immediately to the affected person until he receives treatment. Even though the symptoms of heart attack start slowly, one should not neglect symptoms like chest and shoulder especially left shoulder pain along with sweating and others. Early treatment is very crucial to avoid further complications.