How did Michael Jackson die, and the medicine behind sudden cardiac death

Michael Jackson is dead at age 50.

I’ve received several e-mails to comment on this story, but there’s really too few details to go on. I’m sure more will emerge in the near future.

How did Michael Jackson die, and the medicine behind sudden cardiac death According to news reports, emergency medical services were called to his home in Los Angeles, where he was found in presumed cardiac arrest. CPR was performed, and he was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, which was about six minutes away.

Other reports stated that he was training for a new show, opening in London next month, and had recently undergone a thorough and complete physical exam. He apparently was given a clean bill of health.

It’s being reported that he died from sudden cardiac death, which according to the American College of Cardiology, is defined as, “the sudden cessation of cardiac activity so that the victim becomes unresponsive, with no normal breathing and no signs of circulation.” In these cases, there are often no warning signs, and loss of consciousness can occur between seconds to minutes due to lack of blood flow to the brain.

It’s estimated that up to 15 percent of total mortality in the United States is due to sudden cardiac death, and its incidence rises both with age and underlying cardiac disease, with the latter factor increasing the risk up to ten-fold.

Coronary artery disease is the most commonly associated heart condition associated with sudden cardiac death, but other factors include structural heart disease, as well as smoking, obesity, an elevated blood pressure or cholesterol level, or a family history of heart disease.

In general, the outcome for sudden cardiac death is quite poor. We’re talking less than 20 percent. Getting to a defibrillator as soon as possible is critical. According to cardiologist Steven Nissen, “You have to get to the patient with a defibrillator within about four minutes to get a good outcome. Between four and eight minutes things are a little bit questionable, and after eight minutes very, very few people will survive.” It’s unclear whether there was a defibrillator at the home, but judging from the reports, it didn’t appear that one was readily available.

It’s also inevitable that, with sudden cardiac death in a man in his 50s, speculation may turn to drug use, specifically cocaine or prescription drugs. There is no evidence of anything like that emerging, but as Dr. Nissen states, it’s “another thing that often comes up when a celebrity dies suddenly.”

There’s no doubt that more information will be uncovered in the coming days to weeks, especially if prescription medications or illicit drugs were involved. But also keep in mind that sudden cardiac death can happen at any age, in seemingly healthy individuals.

Whatever the circumstances, there’s no doubt that Michael Jackson will be missed around the world.

Long live the King of Pop.

Did propofol, or Diprivan, kill Michael Jackson?

Why did Michael Jackson have a heart attack, and CPR by Dr. Conrad Murray

Did Demerol cause Michael Jackson’s cardiac arrest and death?

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  • impactednurse

    Very true, time to defibrillation and effective CPR is what will increase your survivability ( which is not so good). It will be interesting to see if this sad event leads to a drive for increased awareness in the use of CPR and automated defib amongst lay people. My understanding is that he recived no CPR until paramedics arrived

  • cal orey

    Aren’t you being a bit presumption assuming cocaine was linked to the tragedy? I haven’t heard this as of yet.

  • cal orey

    That’s presumptious. It’s late.

  • Supremacy Claus
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  • bex

    its sad that the king of pop has died. but the question still remains, why did he die. i think it was because his heart gave out from all the paracetimoll he took to stop stresing about the shows. my heart goes out to his family and friends who are trying to cope with this tragidy

  • Happy Hospitalist

    About eight years ago I did a M&M conference discussing cardiac arrest. If you have all three of these

    1) Time without a pulse greater than 10 minutes after CPR
    2) Rhythm other than VT or VF
    3) Unwitnessed

    You’re toast.

    I also left my opinions on his death last night.

  • Reality Rounds

    I still say his main cause of death was mental illness which led to all the self destructive behavior. Maybe the media will give some attention to the life long consequences of child abuse, and how those effects can linger into adulthood. May he finally rest in peace.

  • R.I.P Michael Jackson

    we will never forget you and we will always love you R.I.P

  • ketra morris

    micheal was a great pop star ….and i promise to never forget u………….bye with hugs.

  • We will miss you michael

    I’m here to say that the death of michael jackson made me cry, I was a big fan and I will miss him so much. beleave it or not i named my newborn 2 month old baby boy after him. long live the king of pop michael the man jackson i love you and miss you dearly, rest in peace in paradise my prayers are with your family!

  • Candi-girl

    When I heard he died I thought it was a bad joke. I’m soo gonna miss u were the greatest! You’re the celebrity I cried the music industry won’t ever b the same.. love your biggest fan


    Dear michael jackson it is so sad that you passed away i was so shocked and couldnt believe it.i always loved your music and the way you danced it was always kinda funny
    and yet so entertaining to hear your death i cried i wish you would come back now that your gone music will never be the same as it was i love hugs and kisses rest in peace cause you are never forgotten.

  • Louise

    What can i say? life is hard now your gone. i thought that people were lying when they said you had died, but then i got home, and the news revealed the terrible truth. i am sad that you are gone, and life will never be the same, i only wish that had got to go to the O2 concert, my ticket sits, untouched. i will keep listening to your songs, and keep spreading your message. you have inspired me to sing and dance, and i hope that in the future i can be like you, even though i know i won’t even be half of what you were. i’ll be female Michael. haha.
    Know you can rest in peace, away from the press. hopefully the press will one day, rot in hell.
    i hope your death was sudden, so that you felt no pain, and that your transaction from this life to another was quick and painless.
    I love you Michael, hope to see you in my next life.

    Ps. your last rehearsal was fantastic! only wish you got to do the real thing.
    Louise, 15

  • lupita

    michael jackson was a person full of power, everybody loved his music, I enjoyed all his songs, and now that he died,, iam gonna miss him alot, he was always full of energy. he would do his moves wich was what I liked from him,,, even though his gone, I will still have him in my heart

  • Tisha penn

    Sometimes we have to take a look at what he have and cherish it before its to late.. Michael jackson you was loved by trillions and you will forever remain an icon… why would he hurt a child? If he was hurt as a child why would he inflick that kind of pain on a lil child. He was stressed out about how badly the media downed him. He never showed that painful side of him.. He reached out to the world to make it a better place for everyone. He lived his life and he enjoyed doing what he did. He’s touched us all in so many different ways. Enough was enough how much can you continue to down someone that’s doing so much good for us… I love you mike and I will forever remember you and love you. Its my time to pick up where you left off.. Its my time to heal the world one donation at a time. Life is too short to worry about what u can’t change now is the time to change what you can… I love you mike the lord has open his doors for you and ur worries are over your hard work will live on but now you may rest worry free…

  • lady red

    Michael Jackson wasnt only the king of pop but he was a legend.Yeah he made some mistakes in life but we all do.He will truly be missed n loved dearly yea like his song said “WE ARE NOT ALONE” he is still here even if he is far away he is still here to stay .So lets keep our heads up because he is still watchin over us. My prayers go out to the whole Jackson family and love.
    *R.I.P Michael Jackson*

  • Selena

    MJ was a really great guy and nobody expected him to go so soon.He will always be in my heart and everybody else god bless him.I don’t belive he died this way. People are saying different things about his death. My prayers and wishes go to his family.everytime i am watching, listening or seeing his pictures i cried alot. And until today i am still shedding tears.I know everybody might wish if they had a second chance in life. If GOD could have given any second chance then i am sure that everyone will be happy, because our very famous MJ will come back alive.but there is no second life, just one life and that one life we will have do right things and not wrong things.Everyone wants to go to heaven.MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE AND MAY HIS MEMORIES BE WITH EVERYONE. MAY GOD BLESS HIS FAMILY! MAY YOU CONTINUE TO SING AND DANCE IN HEAVEN.

  • angelica

    i will miss him so much!! he will be missed by me whole family and friends. when i heard the news i started crying and didnt want to believe it!! but it happened i just didnt wanna believe it but it happened. HAPPY BDAY TO YOU MICHAEL JACKSON ill miss you = ) there will be no other person like him in this world ever again love u mj rest in peace = ( !!!

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