Dallas, September 6, 2018 – Family, friends and fans are mourning the loss of Hollywood legend and actor Burt Reynolds who died today at age 82.  The cause of death is being reported as cardiac arrest and heart attack leading to questions about what these mean and what is the difference. 

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment. 

A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damage.

“At the American Heart Association, we send our thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and fans of Burt Reynolds as well as all those that have lost loved ones to heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases,” said Ivor Benjamin, M.D., FAHA. “We are committed to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives free of heart disease and stroke for all.”

Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack

Infographic full text.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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heart.org and strokeassociation.org