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Scientific/Medical Question 14
Is a 'heart attack' the same as a ‘cardiac arrest'?
A heart attack is typically the result of coronary artery disease (CAD) and is when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become blocked, due to clots forming around fatty buildups called plaque. Due to the blockage, the heart cannot get enough oxygen or nutrients, and tissue death may occur. A heart attack may lead to cardiac arrest, but they are not the same.
A heart attack’s symptoms include chest pain, pain radiating down the left arm, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.
Cardiac arrest is most commonly caused by CAD, but has a variety of other causes including major haemorrhage, heart failure, and electrolyte imbalances. Unlike a heart attack, around half of people have no notable symptoms prior to the event. When symptoms do occur they include chest pain, shortness of break and blackouts or dizziness. The patient will have no pulse upon examination, and lack of blood flow to the brain leads to loss of consciousness and respiratory failure.