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      Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young: A Strategy for Prevention by Targeted Evaluation

      a, b , a

      Cardiology

      S. Karger AG

      Sudden death, Arrhythmia, Cardiomyopathy, Genetics

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          Abstract

          The annual incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the general population is estimated as 1 in a 1,000. Since survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are poor, primary prevention is key to reducing the burden of SCD in the community. Prominent causes of SCD include ischaemic heart disease, anomalous coronary arteries, and the primary myocardial diseases: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and ar rhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). In 4% of sudden deaths in the 16–64 age group, post-mortem examination fails to identify a cause, yielding a default diagnosis of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS). The inherited arrhythmia syndromes (long QT, short QT, and Brugada syndromes, and familial catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia) may be implicated in SADS, owing to their propensity for producing ventricular tachyarrhythmia in the structurally normal heart. Monogenic disorders therefore predominate as causes of SCD in the young. The advent of effective therapies for these diseases, particularly implantable cardioverter defibrillators, has prompted calls for universal screening to enable timely diagnosis of occult cardiac disease. Since prospective cardiac assessment of the general population is not feasible, the solution may be to target high-risk subgroups, namely, patients with cardiac symptoms, relatives of SCD victims, and competitive athletes. The recommended preliminary work-up includes a 12-lead ECG, signal-averaged ECG, transthoracic echocardiogram, exercise test, and ambulatory ECG monitoring. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance is a useful adjunct in patients with suspected ARVC or anomalous coronary arteries. Provocative challenge with a sodium challenge blocker may be of value in unmasking the Brugada syndrome. Identification of disease-causing mutations in affected individuals facilitates cascade screening of families.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Sudden cardiac death in the United States, 1989 to 1998.

          Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major clinical and public health problem. United States (US) vital statistics mortality data from 1989 to 1998 were analyzed. SCD is defined as deaths occurring out of the hospital or in the emergency room or as "dead on arrival" with an underlying cause of death reported as a cardiac disease (ICD-9 code 390 to 398, 402, or 404 to 429). Death rates were calculated for residents of the US aged >/=35 years and standardized to the 2000 US population. Of 719 456 cardiac deaths among adults aged >/=35 years in 1998, 456 076 (63%) were defined as SCD. Among decedents aged 35 to 44 years, 74% of cardiac deaths were SCD. Of all SCDs in 1998, coronary heart disease (ICD-9 codes 410 to 414) was the underlying cause on 62% of death certificates. Death rates for SCD increased with age and were higher in men than women, although there was no difference at age >/=85 years. The black population had higher death rates for SCD than white, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Asian/Pacific Islander populations. The Hispanic population had lower death rates for SCD than the non-Hispanic population. From 1989 to 1998, SCD, as the proportion of all cardiac deaths, increased 12.4% (56.3% to 63.9%), and age-adjusted SCD rates declined 11.7% in men and 5.8% in women. During the same time, age-specific death rates for SCD increased 21% among women aged 35 to 44 years. SCD remains an important public health problem in the US. The increase in death rates for SCD among younger women warrants additional investigation.
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            Sudden death associated with short-QT syndrome linked to mutations in HERG.

            Sudden cardiac death takes the lives of more than 300 000 Americans annually. Malignant ventricular arrhythmias occurring in individuals with structurally normal hearts account for a subgroup of these sudden deaths. The present study describes the genetic basis for a new clinical entity characterized by sudden death and short-QT intervals in the ECG. Three families with hereditary short-QT syndrome and a high incidence of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death were studied. In 2 of them, we identified 2 different missense mutations resulting in the same amino acid change (N588K) in the S5-P loop region of the cardiac IKr channel HERG (KCNH2). The mutations dramatically increase IKr, leading to heterogeneous abbreviation of action potential duration and refractoriness, and reduce the affinity of the channels to IKr blockers. We demonstrate a novel genetic and biophysical mechanism responsible for sudden death in infants, children, and young adults caused by mutations in KCNH2. The occurrence of sudden cardiac death in the first 12 months of life in 2 patients suggests the possibility of a link between KCNH2 gain of function mutations and sudden infant death syndrome. KCNH2 is the binding target for a wide spectrum of cardiac and noncardiac pharmacological compounds. Our findings may provide better understanding of drug interaction with KCNH2 and have implications for diagnosis and therapy of this and other arrhythmogenic diseases.
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              The upper limit of physiologic cardiac hypertrophy in highly trained elite athletes.

              In some highly trained athletes, the thickness of the left ventricular wall may increase as a consequence of exercise training and resemble that found in cardiac diseases associated with left ventricular hypertrophy, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In these athletes, the differential diagnosis between physiologic and pathologic hypertrophy may be difficult. To address this issue, we measured left ventricular dimensions with echocardiography in 947 elite, highly trained athletes who participated in a wide variety of sports. The thickest left ventricular wall among the athletes measured 16 mm. Wall thicknesses within a range compatible with the diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (greater than or equal to 13 mm) were identified in only 16 of the 947 athletes (1.7 percent); 15 were rowers or canoeists, and 1 was a cyclist. Therefore, the wall was greater than or equal to 13 mm thick in 7 percent of 219 rowers, canoeists, and cyclists but in none of 728 participants in 22 other sports. All athletes with walls greater than or equal to 13 mm thick also had enlarged left ventricular end-diastolic cavities (dimensions, 55 to 63 mm). On the basis of these data, a left-ventricular-wall thickness of greater than or equal to 13 mm is very uncommon in highly trained athletes, virtually confined to athletes training in rowing sports, and associated with an enlarged left ventricular cavity. In addition, the upper limit to which the thickness of the left ventricular wall may be increased by athletic training appears to be 16 mm. Therefore, athletes with a wall thickness of more than 16 mm and a nondilated left ventricular cavity are likely to have primary forms of pathologic hypertrophy, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                CRD
                Cardiology
                10.1159/issn.0008-6312
                Cardiology
                S. Karger AG
                0008-6312
                1421-9751
                2006
                May 2006
                11 May 2006
                : 105
                : 4
                : 196-206
                Affiliations
                aCentre for Cardiology in the Young, The Heart Hospital, University College London, and bNational Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK
                Article
                91640 Cardiology 2006;105:196–206
                10.1159/000091640
                16498243
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Tables: 1, References: 65, Pages: 11
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