A “Heart Attack” and “Cardiac Arrest” are Not the Same Thing

Myth: A “heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” are the same thing.

The terms “heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” are often used by lay people interchangeably. However, the fact is that they are not equivalent. “Cardiac arrest” simply implies the heart has stopped pumping blood.  On the other hand, a heart attack is a lack of blood flow to a specific area of the heart caused by some blockage, spasm, or rupture in your “pipes”.

There can be many different causes of cardiac arrest (e.g., auto-erotic asphyxiation carried on past the appropriate moment, a lemming like need to keep up with Charlie Sheen on the weekends, or even a heart attack itself).

People who have a heart attack are significantly more likely to survive than those who suffer cardiac arrest.  So while both are bad, cardiac arrest is worse, unless you really didn’t like the person whose heart stops, then it could be good.  It’s all about looking on the bright side!


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