Heart attack and cardiac arrest are two serious medical conditions that are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion among people. While both conditions are related to the heart, they are not the same thing.
A heart attack is a condition in which there is a disruption in the supply of blood to the heart whereas when your heart stops beating suddenly, it is referred to as cardiac arrest. No matter what, both situations need to be taken care off on an immediate basis as they can be fatal. Understanding the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest can help individuals recognize the signs and symptoms and take appropriate action.
In this article, we will explore the differences between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is an emergency situation of the heart which happens when there is an obstruction in the blood supply to the heart.
The major cause behind a heart attack is a buildup of plaque (fatty deposits) in a coronary artery, which further restricts the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. Without enough oxygenated blood supply to the heart, the heart muscles get damaged leading to improper pumping of the heart and putting the patient in a life-threatening state.
What is a Cardiac Arrest?
A cardiac arrest is a medical condition of the heart which occurs due to a sudden halt or stop in the functioning of the heart and the blood flow to the body is disrupted.
Cardiac arrest happens when there is an electrical dysfunction causing an irregular heartbeat which results in unconsciousness and no pulse in the person. This can occur suddenly or along with some symptoms.
Difference Between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
Is a cardiac arrest a heart attack or vice versa? Well, no! Although both conditions are concerning and alarming situations for the heart, the cause and the physical scenarios differ.
The below table will help you understand the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest.
|1. Sudden mild to severe chest pain or discomfort
2. Shortness of breath
5. Lightheadedness or dizziness
6. Pain in left or both arms, shoulders, back, neck or jaw
|1. Sudden loss of consciousness
2. No breathing
3. No pulse
Symptoms that may occur before cardiac arrest
4. Shortness of breath
5. Extreme fatigue
6. Heart palpitations
7. Chest discomfort
|1. Coronary artery disease: a partial or complete blockage of a coronary artery due to plaque (fat deposit) buildup.
Other causes may be:
1. Coronary artery spasm: tightening of muscles of the artery walls.
2. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection: a tear in a coronary artery.
|It can result from a pre-existing heart condition such as:
1. Heart attack
3. Cardiomyopathy (An enlarged heart)
4. Congenital heart disease (inherited heart disease)
|1. Men above 45 years and women above 55 years old.
2. High blood pressure
3. High cholesterol levels
5. Smoking and second-hand smoking
6. Alcohol and drug abuse
9. Sedentary lifestyle
10. Family history of heart attacks
|1. Heart problems
4. Smokers and Substance abuse
5. Family history of heart diseases
6. Obesity and diabetes
7. Certain medications
8. Respiratory arrest
It is important to note that while heart attack and cardiac arrest are different, they can also be related. A heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, and a person who has had a heart attack is at higher risk of experiencing cardiac arrest. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of the symptoms of both and seek immediate medical attention if they occur.
Treatment for Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
Treating both heart attack and cardiac arrest immediately is necessary as if left untreated can lead the patient to a life-threatening state. In the case of a heart attack, the first line of treatment may include a physical examination by a cardiologist (heart specialist) followed by medications to relieve pain or prevent another heart attack or both.
If the medications do not provide relief to the patient, the doctor may recommend one of the following treatment options for heart attack. These treatment options include
- Coronary angioplasty and stenting: This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) to treat narrow or blocked coronary arteries. During coronary angioplasty, a tiny balloon is inflated inside the narrowed or blocked artery to widen it and improve blood flow.
- Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG): CABG is a type of surgery that is performed to treat blockages in the coronary arteries. During CABG surgery, a healthy blood vessel is taken from another part of the body, such as the chest or leg, and is used to create a new route for blood to flow around the blocked or narrowed coronary artery.
- Heart valve replacement surgery: It is a procedure that involves replacing one or more of the heart’s valves with an artificial valve. The heart’s valves play a crucial role in regulating blood flow through the heart, and when a valve becomes damaged or diseased, it can interfere with the heart’s ability to function properly.
- Heart transplant: It is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or diseased heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a donor.
On the other hand, a cardiac arrest requires immediate medical attention. Some of the important treatments for survival in a cardiac arrest include
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation:CPR is a life-saving technique used to revive individuals who have stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating. CPR is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing that helps to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
- Automated External Defibrillation: AED is a portable device which is used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. The device analyses the heart rhythm of the patient and provides shocks if needed to make the heart rhythm normal.
Cost of Common Treatments for Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
The heart is a precious organ and simultaneously a responsible one too. This is because without the heart functioning properly, no other body organs can work properly.
The most common treatments for a heart attack and post-cardiac arrest are coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).
If you are not aware of the pre and post-surgery processes, surgery costs can go as high as a rocket. Therefore, it is important to know about the costing of the same.
Coronary Angioplasty Cost
Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to open or widen the blocked coronary arteries, enabling a better flow of blood. It uses a balloon or a modern type mesh (called a stent) insertion inside the artery.
In India, coronary angioplasty cost start from ₹50,000 and can go up to ₹2,50,000. A list of coronary angioplasty costs in various cities in India can be found below:
|Name of the city
|Cost range (Min-Max)
|₹ 50,000 to ₹ 2,00,000
|₹ 55,000 to ₹ 3,00,000
|₹ 60,000 to ₹ 2,80,000
The cost of the coronary angioplasty can vary based on the following set of factors:
- Hospital and location:The cost of the procedure can vary depending on the hospital where the procedure is performed and the location of the hospital.
- Type of stent: The cost of the procedure can vary depending on the type of stent used. Drug-eluting stents, which are more expensive than bare-metal stents, are often preferred due to their lower risk of re-blockage.
- Complexity of the procedure: The cost of the procedure can vary depending on the complexity of the blockage and the number of stents required.
- Surgeon’s fee:The surgeon’s fee can vary depending on the experience and reputation of the surgeon.
- Length of hospital stay:The cost of the procedure can vary depending on the length of the hospital stay, which can vary depending on the individual’s health status.
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery Cost
Coronary artery bypass surgery refers to the procedure where a new path is created by taking a healthy blood vessel from the chest or leg.
In India, bypass surgery cost ₹ 1,40,000 and can go up to ₹ 3,50,000. A list of coronary artery bypass cost in various cities in India can be found below:
|Name of the city
|Cost range (Min-Max)
|₹ 1,50,000 to ₹ 3,50,000
|₹ 1,40,000 – ₹ 3,00,000
|₹ 1,40,000 to ₹ 4,00,000
The bypass surgery cost also does vary based on a number of factors. Some of these factors include:
- Hospital and location:The hospital where the procedure is done and the hospital’s location can both affect how much the surgery costs.
- Type of procedure:The cost of the procedure can vary depending on the type of procedure used. Traditional CABG is more expensive than minimally invasive CABG.
- Complexity of the procedure: The complexity of the blockage and the quantity of grafts needed can affect the procedure’s cost.
- Surgeon’s fee:The cost of the surgery can vary based on the surgeon’s qualifications and reputation.
- Length of hospital stay: The length of the hospital stay, which can vary based on the patient’s condition, can affect how much the surgery will cost.
Heart attack and cardiac arrest can be difficult to understand considering both come with similar symptoms. It is extremely crucial to understand the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest as both can be life-threatening conditions. Both conditions can be treated effectively if taken care of on time. Coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery are the two most common procedures advised by doctors for the prevention of more such episodes.
It becomes equally important to know the coronary angioplasty cost and coronary artery bypass cost to better understand how affordable or heavy on the pocket it can be.