Factors Predisposing to Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a major health problem in the affluent world, accounting for 15–20% of all natural deaths in adults in the USA and Western Europe, and for up to 50% of all cardiovascular deaths (PMID: 25520374). SCA is due to cardiac causes that result in cardiac arrhythmia (ventricular fibrillation, VF). SCA is lethal within minutes if left untreated and survival rates are presently only 5-20%. Most deaths due to cardiac arrest are in older adults, particularly those with coronary artery disease. However, SCA also affects the young. In the young SCA is a devastating event and oftentimes occurs unexpectedly in apparently healthy people. Understanding the genetic predisposition to SCA is of utmost importance for SCA prevention in both the young and old.
Identification of genetic factors that predispose an individual to SCA is essential as it allows for specifically designed genetic testing that may contribute to faster and more efficient diagnosis and risk stratification in affected individuals