Heart Attack vs Cardiac Arrest. What’s the difference?
Heart disease is Australia’s leading single cause of death. Every ten minutes an Australian has a heart attack and 55 Australians suffer a cardiac arrest every day.
A heart attack and a cardiac arrest are both emergency situations. If you suspect either call 000.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart, causing the heart muscle beyond the blockage to become oxygen starved. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest
What is a cardiac arrest?
A cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart suddenly stops working properly. This may be caused by abnormal, or irregular, heart rhythms (called arrhythmias).
Heart attack signs and symptoms
Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person. While chest pain is the classic symptom of a heart attack, other kinds of symptoms can occur in addition to, or instead of, chest discomfort. During a heart attack people commonly experience:
- Chest pain – dull pain, chest tightness or discomfort that becomes more severe and does not go away, or a severe ‘crushing’ chest pain
- Jaw and neck pain
- A squeezing or choking sensation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness and fainting
- Pain the shoulder and/or arms
- Pain from the chest to the back
- Feeling of heartburn or indigestion
- Sudden difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Sudden overwhelming fatigue or weakness
- Flu-like symptoms
How to help:
- Call 000 (in Australia) and report possible heart attack
- Give the person an aspirin to chew or swallow, unless they are allergic or have been advised not to take.
- Help them to sit down and rest quietly while waiting for an ambulance.
- If an ambulance is not readily available (for example, in some rural areas), quickly notify the nearest hospital, health clinic or the person’s usual doctor for advice.
- Reassure them while you wait for help.
Cardiac arrest signs and symptoms
If someone is in cardiac arrest they will be unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally.
How to help: CALL, PUSH, SHOCK.
- Call 000 (in Australia) and report a cardiac arrest
- start CPR immediately and,
- ask someone to find the nearest defibrillator.
Performed immediately CPR can double or triple a patients chance of survival. Using a defibrillator in the first minute of a sudden cardiac arrest can bring the survival rate up to 90%
ZOLL generously support Heart Research Australia by donating two AED defibrillators to our yearly REDFEB campaign. These go to the team and individual who raise the most funds during REDFEB, providing lifesaving devices for their communities.
Heart Research Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that funds first stage research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
We can only do this with your support.
If you were able to leave a donation to help our researchers continue their ground breaking work we would be so grateful.
Together, we can change the future of heart disease.
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Heart disease affects 2 in 3 Australian families. Your donation can help make medical breakthroughs in heart disease happen and save lives.