Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have diagnosed heart disease. Though often mistaken as the same thing as a heart attack, cardiac arrest is not the same.
Heart attacks can cause cardiac arrest and even lead to death, but the cause of heart attack and cardiac arrest are different. According to the American Heart Association, heart attacks are caused by a blockage that stops blood from flowing to the heart.
Though heart muscle tissue dies because of this lack of blood supply, heart attacks do not always result in death. Cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical malfunction of the heart, which suddenly stops working properly.
This can be arrhythmia, a condition that occurs when the heart beats irregularly or abnormally. Once the heart has stopped during cardiac arrest, death can occur within minutes.
However, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, can reverse cardiac arrest.
A defibrillator will be used to shock the heart, whichcan restore the it to a normal rhythm in just a few minutes. Because cardiac arrest is so sudden and strikes without warning, it’s imperative that men and women who are with someone they believe is in cardiac arrest take action immediately.