What Happens When the Heart Stops Working?


Quick Answer

When the heart stops working, the body goes into a state of cardiac arrest, which results in death. If medical intervention happens quickly, it is possible to restart and heart and revive the patient.

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Full Answer

The function of the heart is to pump blood to the lungs so the blood can be oxygenated. Without oxygen-rich blood circulating throughout the body, vital organs, including the heart and brain, will eventually die.

Cardiac arrest is a broad term that indicates the heart has stopped beating. People often confuse cardiac arrest with heart attacks, but they are not the same. According to the Texas Heart Institute, heart attacks damage the heart muscle, but the heart may continue to beat. Cardiac arrest has many causes, including inherited disorders, coronary artery disease or adverse reactions to medications or illicit drugs.

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