What we can learn from Tom Petty's cardiac arrest

- Tom Petty's music career spanned forty years, so news of his sudden death shocked and saddened so many. Reports say he died of cardiac arrest at the age of 66.

Dr. Joel Kahn joins us to explain exactly what cardiac arrest is.

"It's an electrical sudden change where you just drop, and don't probably have a pulse or a blood pressure," he says. "If you're lucky enough to make it to a hospital, you've got to sort out why the electrical problem happened. One could be, that a heart attack started but it can suddenly result in the heart stopping.

"You can have a blood clot in the lung; suddenly the heart stops.

"You can have your aorta rip open like Alan Thicke; your heart stops.

"So, if you make it to the emergency room you'll work through the process and find out."

Statistically speaking, when one experiences cardiac arrest most die because the heart has just stopped, unless someone is there to immediately begin CPR or use a defibrillator.

"The key is get on top of the condition ahead of time. For people who've already had a heart attack, work with a specialist. Some will end up with a defibrillator; that prevents cardiac arrest. For the rest of us, it's the hard work. It's exercise, knowing your numbers, eating the right food, getting the good sleep and making sure you're not blocked," Dr. Kahn says.

 

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