Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. An ”electrical” problem.
An electrical problem in the heart triggers an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). The heart’s pumping action is disrupted. The heart cannot pump blood to the body. Within seconds, the victim becomes unresponsive, is not breathing or is gasping. Without treatment, death occurs within minutes.
What to do?
Call 911. Begin CPR. If an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible. If two people are available, one should begin CPR while the other calls 911 and finds an AED.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A ”circulation” problem.
A blocked artery prevents oxygen – rich blood from reaching a section of heart muscle. The heart muscle in that area begins to die. Symptoms may be immediate or may start slowly and persist for hours, days or weeks. Symptoms can include chest discomfort: shortness of breath; sweating; nausea; upper body, neck, jaw or arm pain. The longer a victim goes without treatment, the greater the heart muscle damage.
What to Do?
Call 911. Survive. Don’t drive. Every minute counts. Time lost = heart muscle lost.