Don’t worry if not, we’re here to explain.

To put it simply:

  • Heart attack is when the blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off
  • Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping blood around the body

A heart attack is usually caused by the blockage of a coronary artery which cuts off the supply of blood to the heart muscle. This starves the heart muscle of oxygen, and the heart may be permanently damaged.


In the 1960’s, more than 7 out of 10 heart attacks in the UK were fatal. Today at least 7 out of 10 people survive a heart attack.


A cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. This results in the person collapsing and becoming unconscious. It’s a medical emergency as the brain becomes starved of oxygen and will be damaged. Without urgent medical help the person will die.


There are many causes of cardiac arrest, with heart attack being one of them.


In the UK, only 1 in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, but CPR can more than double the chances of survival.

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If you have any concerns regarding your health, please speak to your doctor. You can call NHS 111 for non-urgent medical enquiries or call 999 for urgent, emergency medical attention.


The content of this website is for education and information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

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