Cardiac Arrest & Heart Attack

Each year, thousands of people in Australia die from heart disease. Early treatment may be able to reverse or reduce the damage to the heart and decrease the number of deaths from heart disease.

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest occurs when the casualty’s heart is not beating. The casualty presents as unconscious and not breathing. Regardless of the cause, CPR must be commenced immediately on the casualty.

Heart Attack (Acute Myocardial Infarction)

A person experiences a heart attack when there is a sudden partial or complete blockage of one of the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle. As a result of the interruption to the blood supply, there is an immediate risk of life-threatening changes to the heart rhythm. If not corrected quickly there is also a risk of serious, permanent heart muscle damage. To reduce the chance of sudden death from heart attack, urgent medical care is required – “every minute counts”.

Heart attack is different from, but may lead to, cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is cessation of heart action.

Survival after heart attack can be improved by current treatments and clot-dissolving medications that clear the blocked artery, restore blood supply to the heart muscle and limit damage to the heart. These therapies are most effective if administered as soon as possible following the onset of symptoms with these benefits declining with delays in treatment.