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Risk of sudden heart death is higher in males

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 30 March 2012

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Men are far more likely than women to die suddenly from cardiac arrest caused by irregular heart rhythms, says a report published today.

The newly published National Audit of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) 2011 suggests that the biggest proportion of these SADS happen to people in their 30s.

The audit, which is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (formerly known as the NHS Information Centre) in partnership with the UK Cardiac Pathology Network, analysed results of 317 cases from 17 hospitals recorded since July 2008.

It found that nearly two thirds (62%) of such deaths were in males and the average age of death, where recorded, was at 33 years old.

Most deaths (72%), where recorded, happened between 6am and 6pm and around a third (33%) of people died while resting, while 19% died in bed and 17% died during some form of exertion.

One of the report’s authors Dr Perry Elliott, audit co-chairman and clinical lead for inherited cardiovascular disease services at the Heart Hospital, University College London, said there was a need for more hospital participation in the audit by NHS trusts and local health boards.

Dr Elliott said: “While SADS kills a relatively small number of people in England and Wales, recent events in the sporting world highlight the devastating impact that the condition continues to have on people.

“As this report shows, much progress has been made, but we still need NHS trusts to provide more data to build on this basic analysis and to improve the outlook for families affected by this fatal condition.”

Participation in the audit is open to any trust or heath board that has recorded incidences of SADS.

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