defib AED

Do you know the difference between a Cardiac Arrest & a Heart Attack?

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We think it’s important for our customers to understand the differences between a heart attack and cardiac arrest. A lot of people don’t realise that they aren’t actually the same thing, and each require different treatment…

Using an AED is not appropriate for a person who experiences a heart attack. Often, this casualty will still be conscious, and their heart will still be beating. AEDs will not administer a shock in this instance as a viable heart rhythm would be picked up through the electrode pads connected to the defibrillator. That being said, a heart attack is still a life-threatening issue, and the emergency services should be contacted straight away. A heart attack can however, very quickly lead to cardiac arrest. In this circumstance, an AED with the additional support of CPR may help to save a person’s life. We have listed the difference between both a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest below:-

Cardiac Arrest

  • This is when the heart stops pumping blood around the body, causing the heart to go into an abnormal rhythm or to stop beating completely.
  • Oxygen will not be able to reach the brain and other vital organs.
  • When a cardiac arrest takes place, the casualty will lose consciousness and their breathing may stop.
  • If basic life support is not provided immediately, the chances of survival are reduced.
  • Cardiac arrest can happen at any age and at any time. Possible causes of Cardiac Arrest include the following:-
  • Heart and circulatory disease
  • Loss of blood
  • Trauma (such as a blow to the area directly over the heart)
  • Electrocution
  • Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS; often caused by a genetic defect) When a cardiac arrest occurs, CPR can help to circulate oxygen to the body’s vital organs

Heart Attack

  • A heart attack is caused by a clot forming in one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.
  • The clot stops oxygen from getting to a particular area of the heart and as a result, heart cells start to die.
  • The longer there is a lack of oxygen to the heart, the more damage is caused. This damage however, may not be permanent damage.

We hope that we have covered all of the main differences between both a Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack. If you do have any other queries, our very own Pauline Gregory is a fully qualified AED trainer and would be happy to answer any additional questions for you 🙂

The Concept Hygiene Team

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