Tom Petty's death from cardiac arrest shines spotlight on sudden killer

(CBS NEWS) -- The sudden death of rock legend Tom Petty Monday night sparked an outpouring of affection and appreciation for his music — as well as questions about the what caused his unexpected loss at the age of 66.

"On behalf of the Tom Petty family we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty," his longtime manager Tony Dimitriades said in a statement. "He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40pm PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends."

The rocker's death has put a spotlight on a heart condition that strikes suddenly and can kill in a matter of minutes.

While the terms cardiac arrest and heart attack are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Cardiac arrest is triggered by a malfunction in the heart which causes the heart to stop beating unexpectedly, while a heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked.                    

Cardiac arrest "is really more of an electrical problem. The other is more of a mechanical problem," Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, told CBS News.

Symptoms of a heart attack can include pain in the chest or other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms can come on suddenly, but more commonly they start slowly and persist for hours, days, or even weeks before a heart attack occurs.

On the other hand, a person experiencing cardiac arrest immediately becomes unresponsive and death occurs within minutes without treatment. 

MORE: Read the full story at CBSNEWS.com

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment