Cardiac arrest is the loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness resulting from an electrical disturbance in the heart. The event, which is often mistaken for a heart attack, disrupts the pumping action of the heart, which slows or stops blood flow to the rest of the body. When the heart stops, the lack of oxygen-rich blood can cause brain damage. If not treated immediately, they can lead to death or permanent brain damage in four to six minutes.
A heart attack occurs when something blocks blood flow to a portion of the heart. While this is not yet cardiac arrest, a heart attack can trigger a disturbance in the pumping action of the heart which may lead to the more serious event. People experiencing frequent chest pains, dizzy spells, heart palpitations, or shortness of breath should not ignore these symptoms and should seek medical attention promptly.
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