What is the difference between a heart attack and a stroke?

CVA - Cerebrovascular accident, Cerebrovascular accident (disorder), Stroke,cerebrovascular disorder, stroke, CVA (cerebral vascular accident), cerebrovascular accident,

A myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when a portion of the heart is deprived of oxygen due to blockage of a coronary artery.

A heart attack, or the infarction of the myocardis, comes from the blockage of heart arteries as consequence of a blood clot becoming deposited over an atherosclerotic plaque.

Other cases of infarction of the myocardis involve subintimal hemorrhage in the blood vessel. The hemorrhage lifts the blood vessel wall and blocks it entirely or partially. This occurs more often in people who suffer from high blood pressure. This is how a heart attack happens.

A stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.


Both diseases are serious conditions which pose a severe threat to life.

Despite the fact that they occur in different organs (heart and brain respectively), they are two conditions which share major similarities in the mechanism by which they are caused.

  • The blockage of blood vessels and haemorrhage lies at the core of both conditions.

They also have risk factors which are more or less the same. These risk factors directly affect the onset of the disease.

This is why it can be said that taking precautionary measures for one disease is useful in preventing the other and vice-versa.

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 12 Jan 2018
Medical Author: Dr. med. Diana Hysi