With reports swirling that Michael Jackson died of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the spotlight is now on this peculiar form of heart failure. FOX News reports that SCA is responsible for more U.S. deaths than breast cancer and HIV/AIDS together. They spoke to University of Southern California’s cardiovascular medicine chief Leslie Saxon.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is a real national tragedy,” Dr. Saxon said. “It’s most often due to a sudden, very rapid heart rhythm. The heart goes so fast a person dies right away unless they’re shocked out of it with a defibrillator.”
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA) adds that a person in the States dies every two minutes because of SCA, and most (about 80 percent) of the cases take place in the home, like Michael.
Though it has not been confirmed, it is believed that Michael suffered the attack and died before paramedics arrived to his Los Angeles mansion.
"Even though Mr. Jackson’s collapse was apparently witnessed, emergency medical services responded promptly and Mr. Jackson’s home was near UCLA Medical Center, it was still not sufficient to revive Mr. Jackson," wrote SCAA Executive Director Chris Chiames. "SCA victims usually need immediate CPR and the shock of an automated external defibrillator (AED) if they are to have any chance of survival."
The association advocates everyone learning CPR and the purchase of an AED to increase survival chances, should an emergency take place. Even if you are otherwise healthy, you are at risk for suffering SCA if you have any of these factors, from SCAA:
• History of early heart disease, heart attack or cardiac death
in the family
• Unexplained fainting or near fainting or palpitations
• Chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting with exertion
(such as during sports)
• Heart failure or heart attack
• Weak heart muscle or a cardiac ejection fraction (EF) of
less than 40 percent (EF refers to the percentage of blood that is
pumped out of the heart’s main pumping chamber during
• Cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes,
obesity, smoking, or high cholesterol
See your doctor if you are concerned about one or more of these symptoms. Leading a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes cardiovascular exercise, weight management and eliminating risk factors, will probably be on the agenda.
To learn more about sudden cardiac arrest, visit the SCAA Website.
— Whitney Teal