Sudden Cardiac Arrest vs Heart Attack

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death for youth and teen athletes during exercise. Many athletes who suffer from SCA on the field show no warning symptoms. Knowing how to react when a cardiac event occurs is crucial. Ensure your organization is equipped with AEDs and proper training in order to react quickly when an incident occurs.

Do you know what Sudden Cardiac Arrest is and what the symptoms are?

Sudden 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, stopping blood flow to the rest of your body.

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it causes sudden cardiac death. With fast, appropriate medical care, survival is possible. Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), treating with a defibrillator — or even just compressions to the chest — can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrive.

Sudden cardiac arrest symptoms are immediate and drastic and include:

Sudden collapse
No pulse
No breathing
Loss of consciousness
Sometimes other signs and symptoms precede sudden cardiac arrest. These may include fatigue, fainting, blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations or vomiting. But sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning.


Heart Attack

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a part of the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough blood flow. The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.Every year, about 790,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these cases

  • 580,000 are a first heart attack.
  • 210,000 happen to people who have already had a first heart attack.1

One of 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.1 Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle. If you know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and recognize that you or someone near you is having a heart attack, seek immediate treatment by calling 9-1-1. The longer you wait, the more damage to the heart muscle can occur.Learn more about what you can do to prevent a future heart attack.