Know the signs to help save a life
Whether you’ve learned how to do CPR or not, knowing the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest is important because it will help you know what the victim needs in addition to calling 9-1-1 for an ambulance.
What is the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest?
First, and as everyone knows, oxygen is essential to life. And the heart’s job is to pump oxygen-rich blood into the arteries, including arteries that supply oxygen to the heart muscle itself.
So, very simply put, a heart attack is a blood flow emergency. Meaning, if something prevents or blocks oxygen-rich blood from feeding the heart muscle, the muscle becomes starved of oxygen.
But a cardiac arrest is an electrical conduction emergency during which the heart (which has its own natural, inner electrical system) suddenly stops beating. When this happens, the brain is starved of oxygen and death can occur within minutes.
Here’s what you might observe when someone is suffering a
The person will be conscious but may have chest, arm, jaw pain or a burning pressure in the chest. In addition, the person may be anxious, sweaty, have difficulty breathing, experience nausea or dizziness and their skin may look blue.
What the person needs from you is help to sit down so they don’t fall and injure themselves. Then you must call or tell someone to call 9-1-1 immediately. You should stay with the person until help arrives.
Here’s what you might observe when someone is in
The person will be unconscious and will not be breathing.
What the person needs from you is CPR immediately after you’ve called or told someone to call 9-1-1.