Peer Reviewed
Feature Article Cardiovascular medicine

Sudden cardiac death in the young

Belinda Gray, Jipin Das K, Christopher Semsarian
Sudden cardiac death is a tragic and devastating complication of several cardiovascular diseases. In up to one-third of sudden deaths in the young, no cause is identified at postmortem. DNA analysis of appropriate blood and tissues plays a key role in the identification of any underlying genetic cause of death.
Key Points
  • Sudden cardiac death is a major and tragic complication of cardiovascular disease.
  • In patients aged younger than 40 years, most causes of sudden cardiac death are either primary structural or primary arrhythmogenic abnormalities.
  • Many of these diseases are familial, usually with autosomal dominant inheritance.
  • The first presentation of an inherited heart disease may be sudden cardiac death.
  • Management of patients and their families following a sudden cardiac death requires a comprehensive multidisciplinary care model in a specialised cardiac genetic clinic.
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