Randy Poffo, know worldwide as "Macho Man" Randy Savage died in a single motor vehicle accident in Seminole, Florida on the morning of May 20, 2011. The preliminary autopsy report did not reveal a cause of death according to Bill Pellan of the Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner's office. No extensive trauma was present. (1) Toxicology and histology results are still pending. In an interview with Bright House Sports network conducted on June 7, 2011 Lanny Poffo, brother of Savage, reported that the cause of death was ventricular fibrillation. (2)
The medical event that occurred with Savage is referred to as sudden cardiac death. This happens when there is a sudden cessation of heart function and collapse of the circulatory system. The final event is an unstable heart rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation. During ventricular fibrillation there are rapid, uncoordinated, ineffective, contractions of the lower heart chambers. This rhythm is universally fatal unless the individual is fortunate enough to be quickly resuscitated. When sudden cardiac death happens outside of a hospital, the likelihood of surviving is very low. Only about 10% of individuals survive, many of whom will never make a complete recovery.
There are many different causes of ventricular fibrillation that can result in sudden cardiac death as listed in Table 1.
- Coronary artery disease: 65-70%.
- Structural heart disease (i.e. hypertrophic cardiomyopathy): 10%.
- No heart disease (i.e. drugs, trauma, bleeding): 15-35%.
There has been speculation that Savage's death could be linked to anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use. The final autopsy report should provide information on this, as several autopsy findings due to AAS use have previously been described. For more information on this refer to the May 7, 2011 blog on this site titled Anabolic androgenic steroids and heart disease.
The medical refernce www.uptodate.com was used in the preparation of this blog.
Photographs are for illustrative purposes only. Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership.