Ask the Cardiologist: The Difference Between a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Dr. Maciej Malinski is on the medical staff at Sherman Hospital. He has been kind enough to answer some frequently asked questions related to maintaining a healthy heart. Look for additional heart information from Dr. Malinski in the coming weeks.

Q: What’s the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

A heart attack (myocardial infarction, MI) occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through one of coronary arteries, a blood vessel supplying blood to a part of the heart muscle. Interrupted blood flow to your heart can damage or destroy a part of the heart muscle.

Cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action and causes blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body. Cardiac arrest almost always occurs in the context of other underlying heart problems, particularly coronary artery disease resulting in myocardial infarction or primary electrical problem resulting in abnormal rhythm called ventricular fibrillation.

Do you have a question for Dr. Malinski? To submit your question, either post it in the comments section below or email luke@shermanhealth.com with the subject line “Question for Dr. Malinski.” For more information on heart health, click here to visit Sherman’s Heart and Vascular Center.

This post is published by Sherman Health to provide general health information. It is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from your physician.

About Sherman Health

Sherman Health has provided medical care to Northern IL since 1888, and is currently home to a network of over 600 physicians. The Sherman blogs are edited by me, Luke. Questions? Comments? Links? Email address is luke at shermanhealth dot com.
This entry was posted in Ask the Cardiologist, Heart and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ask the Cardiologist: The Difference Between a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

  1. Pingback: Get to know our award-winning blog series, Ask the Cardiologist! « Sherman Heart & Vascular Blog

  2. scott grandsard says:

    I have gone to your er many times with the same problem and they keep giving me the same tests. I think i’m at a high risk for a heart attack at any moment and think i need a stress test. do i need to have a actual heart attack to go to the er. Also I’m very disappointed that i’ve never seen a doctor once there.

  3. Hi Scott,

    Thank you for contacting us! Someone on staff at Sherman Health will be in touch with you shortly.

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