Lisa Marie Presley, 54, dies from cardiac arrest — who is at risk?

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a cardiac arrest is when "the heart suddenly stops beating."

Lisa Marie Presley has died at age 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Icelandic Glacial)
Lisa Marie Presley has died at age 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Icelandic Glacial)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Lisa Marie Presley, singer-songwriter and the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, has died at age 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," Priscilla confirmed in a statement to People on Thursday evening.

"She was the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers. At this time there will be no further comment," she added.

Lisa shared the same sultry charisma as her father and followed in his footsteps by releasing her own rock albums in the 2000s, appearing on stage with Richard Hawley, Pat Benatar and others.

She even lended her low, brooding voice to a few of her father's recordings, such as "Don't Cry Daddy" and "In the Ghetto."

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A spokesperson told Entertainment Tonight that police were called to Presley's Los Angeles home on Thursday morning. When they arrived, they found paramedics performing CPR on Presley, who was suffering a full cardiac arrest.

Her mother confirmed the news on Twitter and added that she was receiving "the best care."

Upon noting "signs of life," the paramedics transferred her a local hospital for "immediate medical care." She died hours later.

The "Dirty Laundry" songstress's death comes two days after she attended the 2023 Golden Globe Awards, where Austin Butler won the statuette for Best Performance in a Motion Picture (Drama) for his role as Elvis Presley.

So, what is cardiac arrest, and why is it so deadly? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the medical emergency that took Presley's life.

Severe heartache, man suffering from chest pain, having heart attack or painful cramps, pressing on chest with painful expression.
A cardiac arrest is when "the heart suddenly stops beating." (Photo via Getty Images)

What is a cardiac arrest?

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a cardiac arrest is when "the heart suddenly stops beating."

If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs, and you stop breathing and/or lose consciousness. Brain death can begin in as little as three minutes.

The condition is usually caused by a problem with your heart's electrical system, which disrupts your heart's ability to pump and beat (arrhythmia).

In Canada, approximately 35,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. Only one in 10 people survive this emergency if it happens at home or in a public place. A patient's survival rate doubles with immediate action or if it takes place within a hospital setting.

It's important to note that cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage that stops or limits blood flow to the heart.

Woman hand  holding chest with symptom heart attack disease.
Occasionally, chest discomfort and shortness of breath occurs before a cardiac arrest. (Photo via Getty Images)

What are the signs and symptoms of a cardiac arrest?

Unfortunately, cardiac arrest happens unexpectedly and there are usually no warning signs.

If someone suddenly collapses, becomes unresponsive to touch or sound, loses pulse or stops breathing, they might be experiencing a cardiac arrest.

Occasionally, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, weakness or fast-beating/fluttering heart palpitations occur before a cardiac arrest, but this is less common.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above warning signs, or suddenly becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.

If you've had a heart attack, it can trigger sudden cardiac arrest in the future. (Photo via Getty Images)
If you've had a heart attack, it can trigger sudden cardiac arrest in the future. (Photo via Getty Images)

Who's at risk of a cardiac arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. However, a life-threatening arrhythmia or electrical problems in the heart usually develop in people with preexisting heart conditions:

  • Heart attack: If you've had a heart attack it can trigger sudden cardiac arrest and leave scar tissue on your heart, which can cause abnormalities in your heart rhythm.

  • Coronary artery disease: Most cases of sudden cardiac arrest occur in people who have coronary artery disease. In this case, the arteries become clogged with cholesterol and other deposits, which reduces blood flow to the heart.

  • Enlarged heart: Enlarged heart occurs when your heart's muscular walls stretch, enlarge or thicken, which often leads to arrhythmias.

  • Valvular heart disease: Leaking or narrowing of your heart valves can lead to stretching or weakening of your heart muscle, leading to an increased risk of developing arrhythmia.

  • Congenital heart disease: When sudden cardiac arrest occurs in children or adolescents, it can be due to congenital heart disease that the person was born with.

Outside of heart conditions, other factors can lead to a greater risk of cardiac arrest, such as people who smoke or have high blood pressure or cholesterol. Additionally, people who are obese, have diabetes or live an inactive lifestyle are more as risk.

The woman are eating vegan food, taco rice. In the foreground is a Buddha bowl.
The straw is a stainless steel reusable straw.
Following a heart healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of cardiac arrest. (Photo via Getty Images)

How can I help prevent a cardiac arrest?

Following a heart healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of many heart conditions such as sudden cardiac arrest.

For example, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, managing stress and getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is recommended.

Additionally, talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional about being screened for heart disease and how to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest.

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