Answers to Athletes and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Premier Health providers and athletic trainers answer frequently asked questions about sudden cardiac arrest.

Is sudden cardiac arrest the same as a heart attack?

Dr. Michael Barrow discusses the difference between sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


No, that is not the case. Sudden cardiac arrest is exactly that, when the heart just suddenly and unexpectedly stops. With a heart attack, you typically feel some symptoms. A heart attack is when there is a blockage of an artery somewhere in the heart that keeps blood flow from getting to the heart muscle itself. This damages the heart. You could end up with sudden cardiac arrest as a result of a heart attack, but the two are not necessarily linked.

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Chelsea L. Gilliam, APRN-CNP, AGACNP-BC

Piqua Family Practice

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Source: Michael W. Barrow, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; American Heart Association; National Institutes of Health; Nik Berger, MS, AT, ATC, Premier Health Sports Medicine – Miami Valley Hospital South; Jeffrey James, DO, Premier Orthopedics; Sean Convery, MD, Premier Orthopedics; Jeffrey Rayborn, MD, Premier Orthopedics