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Why Whitney Houston Died

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Whitney Houston (Jakubaszek/Getty Images)

Whitney Houston (Jakubaszek/Getty Images)

Recent Blog Entries From Dr. Dave Hnida


Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorAs a physician, the technical jargon in Whitney Houston’s autopsy results actually raise more questions than provides actual answers.

The official cause of death is “accidental drowning”. Contributing factors were “cocaine use” and “atherosclerotic heart disease.”

Plainly put from my eyes, it’s hard to die of accidental drowning in a bathtub. The ocean, a pool, a lake… maybe.

But how do you just fade under the water and not come back up?

That’s where the secondary causes may play a role. It appears she may have used cocaine fairly recently before death … and for a long time chronically before her death.

The atherosclerotic heart disease basically means her heart arteries were clogging, and her heart muscle was not strong. That can be from a lot of reasons — but it’s important to know that cocaine — over time, or even one use, beats up your heart fairly badly.

Cutting to the chase and taking a doctor guess, she may have used cocaine, gone into an irregular heart rhythm, or even had a heart attack, and then lost consciousness and sank under water. It’s even possible she didn’t use cocaine immediately before the bath, but got into hot water, had a heart issue, and drowned.

The drowning is listed as the primary cause of death because that’s what actually killed her. But once again, something had to happen to cause her to slip under water, which is why the other two things — cocaine and bad heart — are listed a “contributing” factors.

Of note is the other meds found: Xanax, Benadryl, Flexeril (a muscle relaxant), and marijuana. Any one of these drugs can be cause a problem — combine one or more, and you are inviting trouble. But, the coroner says none of those drugs caused her to die. (But they certainly do have the potential to cause death. Even hearing of that many meds or drugs being around creeps me out.)

Bottom line, a final report is due out in two to three weeks. In the meantime, the official cause of death is drowning, but there is much more to this sad story.

RELATED LINK: CBSLosAngeles.com Whitney Houston’s Death Coverage

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