Further research will explore extent of genes role in sudden cardiac death
Imagine walking down the street, collapsing without warning and dying within minutes. According to the American Heart Association, about 250,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac death each year, and half of them may have no prior warning. And, in 5 to 10 percent of all cases, these sudden cardiac deaths remain unexplained since the heart may have no visible abnormality.
In an effort to explore if defects in genes cause these mysterious deaths, Oregon Health & Science University heart researchers studied five genes already known to increase a persons risk for sudden cardiac death. They found gene defects were responsible, but only in a minority of patients. Further research will be required to determine whether gene defects may also have caused the remaining sudden cardiac deaths. The study, "Postmortem Molecular Screening in Unexplained Sudden Death," was published in the May 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Christine Pashley | OHSU
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