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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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If someone died suddenly,how can I find out it is a heart attack or stroke ?

if someone died suddenly, how can I tell if it's a heart attack or stroke?
if someone died suddenly, how can I tell if it's a heart attack or stroke?
Tue, 30 Jul 2013
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Hi,
Stroke is almost never a cause of sudden death except in rare cases wherein the stroke involves the vital centres.But heart attack is one of the most common causes of sudden cardiac arrest.So mush so ,that any sudden cardiac arrest is taken as heart attack unless proved otherwise.
Once a person is dead its very difficult to tell the difference.If there was time to collect any history before death,it would not have been a problem at all.The only definite way to tell the difference is by autopsy.Here the heart tissue needs to be examined for damage,as well as the brain tissue.Observation of this will surely give a conclusive answer.
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Neurologist Dr. Sandhya Manorenj's  Response
Hi,



If someone suddenly die, first cause is cardiac only we call it as cardiopulmonary arrest.Stroke usually present with neurogical symptoms, before leading to cardiac arrest secondary to stroke.A time gap will be there atleast 6 hours as per my clinical experience Heart attack person will have chest pain, he will sweat a lot ,BP wont be palpable when it is inferior or RV myocardial infarction.In case of stroke always BP will be on higher side unless patient has associated heart attack
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  User's Response
benedetto's  Response
there are two kinds of heart attack, I suspect you are talking about cardiac arrest where the pacemaker stops. If it was a blood clot in the heart, there would probably be warning signs and the person would have time to tell you about chest pains and such. There are also two kinds of stroke. You are probably talking about hemorrhagic stroke because blood clots are more survivable and less sudden. Between the 2 sudden death types of pacemaker and hemorrhagic, it is difficult to tell which one it is. Autopsy or examine the CSP for blood. If CSP has blood then it's hemorrhagic stroke. If not then most likely it's pacemaker death. If the death certicate says "natural causes" then they don't know or there was no autopsy.
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