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Understanding Cardiac Arrest

Last updated 4 years ago

Most people use the terms “cardiac arrest” and “heart attack” interchangeably, but the two conditions are actually very different. The one thing they have in common is that both require immediate ER care. Would you recognize the symptoms of cardiac arrest? Here is that you need to know about this heart health emergency.

What Is Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating suddenly. In most cases, it is caused by a malfunction in the electrical system of the heart. It is important to note that cardiac arrest is not a heart attack. During a heart attack, blood flow to the heart is disrupted in some way, but the heart itself does not stop beating completely. Timely treatment in an ER is even more urgent for cardiac arrest than it is for a heart attack.

What Are the Symptoms?

In many cases, the first symptoms of cardiac arrest occur when the heart stops beating. As soon as the heart stops, the sufferer will become unconscious and stop breathing, and they will not have a pulse. Some cardiac arrest survivors report that they had chest pain, weakness, and a pounding heart in the weeks leading up to the event.

How Is It Treated?

Immediate treatment is essential to get the heart beating again. If you suspect someone is in cardiac arrest, call for help right away. If you have access to an AED (automated external defibrillator), use it to shock the heart to try to restore normal beating. Administer CPR until help arrives. At the ER, doctors will use a variety of techniques to restart the heart. They may also use therapeutic hypothermia to protect the brain and other vital organs while they are working on the heart.

At Englewood Community Hospital, our ER and cardiac care team provide the fast care needed to save cardiac arrest patients. We offer a full range of hospital services to the Englewood and Northport communities. For a physician referral or to learn more, call (888) 658-1598.


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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