Left untreated, sudden cardiac arrest may rapidly lead to fatal consequences. However, survival is possible with the immediate delivery of an appropriate medical intervention. Performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), employing a defibrillator, or even administering chest compressions can significantly enhance survival rates until the arrival of emergency medical services.
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While both SCA and heart attacks involve the heart, they represent distinct conditions. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, results from a blockage in one or more coronary arteries, inhibiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and causing potential damage.
Conversely, SCA is a consequence of a malfunction in the heart's electrical system, leading to an abrupt, severe irregularity in heart rhythm. This irregularity may cause the ventricles to flutter or quiver, referred to as ventricular fibrillation, impairing blood delivery to the body. The primary concern in the initial minutes is a significant reduction in blood flow to the brain, leading to loss of consciousness. Without immediate emergency treatment, this can result in death.