A heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest are two different conditions and both of them have its own characteristics and symptoms. First we will start with a heart attack which occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of the heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked by a blood clot and the heart can’t get oxygen. If the blood flow isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.
The most common symptoms of a heart attack are:
• Chest pain or discomfort: Most heart attacks involved discomfort in the center of the left side of the chest. Chest discomfort may feel like pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain that usually lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. Chest discomfort can also feel like heartburn or indigestion.
• Upper body discomfort: You may feel pain or discomfort in other parts of your upper body which include one or both arms, your back, neck, stomach, teeth, and jaw.
• Shortness of breath: This may be accompanied or not with chest pain.
Other Symptoms may include:
• Cold Sweats
• Nausea or vomiting
• Anxiety, indigestion
• Unexplained fatigue
What to do when they happen? If you think you or someone else may be having heart attack symptoms, call 911 or your emergency response number right away. Instead of driving the victim to the hospital it is better to get an ambulance. Emergency medical services staff can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room. EMS staff are also trained to revive a person if their heart stops.
What is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)? It is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs, and other vital organs. If it is not treated within minutes, the victim will die.
The symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest occur abruptly and without warning and they include:
• Sudden collapse
• No pulse
• No breathing
• Loss of consciousness
• Other symptoms may include fatigue, fainting, blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations or vomiting. But sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning.
What to do when they happen? The first thing to do when you are helping an unconscious person, who isn’t breathing, is to call 911 for a medical emergency. Then, if there is a portable defibrillator, use it until the ambulance arrives. In case you are not trained to use it, ask the 911 to guide you to use it. Begin CPR immediately and continue until professional emergency medical services arrive.