Doctors baffled by rise in Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS). Image: Claire Smith/Unsplash
DOCTORS in Australia are developing the country’s first SADS registry following recent incidents of healthy young people dying of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Sudden Adult Death Syndrome or Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) is an “umbrella term used to describe unexpected deaths in young people” and this “mysterious” syndrome is said to have led doctors in Australia to look for more answers.
This has prompted doctors at Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute to create the country’s SADS registry, which they hope they can roll out across the country to gain more information on this sudden death phenomenon.
“In our registry there are approximately 750 cases per year of people under the age of 50 in Victoria going into sudden cardiac arrest (cardiac arrest),” a spokeswoman said.
“No cause of this is found in about 100 young people a year, even after extensive investigations such as a full autopsy (the SADS phenomenon).”
According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), SADS usually occurs in healthy adults under the age of 40 and the term is used when a post-mortem examination cannot find an obvious cause of death.
As reported by news.com.auCardiologist and researcher Dr. Elizabeth Paratz, told the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute registry in Melbourne: “[allows you to see] People who went into cardiac arrest without a cause were found at the back end.”
dr Paratz said that “the majority of these SADS events, 90 percent, happen outside of the hospital — the person doesn’t make it — so ambulances and forensic scientists actually take care of the majority of these patients.”
She added: “I think even doctors underestimate it [SADS]. We only see the 10 percent that survive and make it to the hospital. We only see the tip of the iceberg ourselves.”
“If someone is having a heart attack and you do an autopsy, you might see a large clot, that’s a positive finding, but if someone has had one of these SADS events, the heart is clean,” she said.
“It’s really hard to know what to do.”
The SADS Foundation, a US-based patient and family support program for those dealing with genetic disorders that cause sudden cardiac death in young people or who have lost a loved one to sudden unexplained death, said that “SADS Disorders occur because the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, causing the heart to beat at an abnormal rhythm.”
“However, these conditions can be treated and deaths prevented,” the foundation said.
The foundation added that SADS-related deaths in children, adolescents or young adults could be due to a family history of a SADS diagnosis or the sudden unexplained death of a family member, fainting or seizures during exercise, or being excited or startled.
They also said that over half of the 4,000 annual SADS deaths in the country within the above age groups followed one of these warning signs.
As noted by the Foundation, SADS events are not limited to Australia or adults only Euro Weekly News Reporting some of the following incidents that may be related to Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome:
On Monday, May 30, Aidan Kaminska, a star lacrosse player at the University of Massachusetts, died suddenly at the age of 19.
On May 28, Piata Tauwhare, a newly married bride, 30, originally from New Zealand, was found dead in a solarium in Swansea, South Wales.
On Sunday May 15, former Swansea defender Mark Davies died suddenly aged 49 after collapsing on the pitch during a Wales Veterans’ Cup final.
On Thursday 5th May a man suddenly died on a Jet2 flight from Malaga, Spain to Glasgow.
The flight had to be diverted to Nantes Atlantique Airport in France as the customer required urgent medical assistance. However, it was later revealed that the man had died.
Popular businessman Lorenzo Ortego, director of Gran Canaria’s Vital Suites – Residence, Health & Spa, died unexpectedly on Tuesday May 3rd.
In the UK, a sailor died suddenly during the Finn Masters Race at the Keyhaven Yacht Club in Milford on Sea, Lymington on Tuesday 3 May, prompting a police inquiry.
On March 9, Commonwealth Games cyclist John Paul, who represented Scotland in Glasgow 2014, died suddenly at the age of 28.
On Sunday April 3, a 13-year-old footballer from Cádiz, in Andalusia, Spain, died suddenly.
Previously, on March 28, another 13-year-old died on the Costa del Sol.
The young teenager was playing with the rest of his classmates in the playground at the Sierra de Mijas Secondary Education Institute in Malaga province when he reportedly passed out without warning and died at the scene.
dr Paratz explained that scientists are still unable to determine “what genes cause [SADS]’ and urged people to get tested, even if they are fit and healthy.
“The best advice would be if you yourself have had a first-degree relative – a parent, sibling, child – who had an unexplained death, it is strongly recommended that you see a cardiologist,” she said.
“Anyone else (see a cardiologist) if you have heart symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or can’t keep up with your friends when exercising or walking.”
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