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Sudden cardiac death

"Sudden cardiac death is defined as an event that is non-traumatic, non-violent, unexpected, and resulting from sudden cardiac arrest within six hours of previously witnessed normal health." (Sharma et al, 1997. Br J Sports Med)

The commonest cause of sudden cardiac death in older people is usually coronary artery disease (blocked arteries in the heart), whereas sudden cardiac death in young people (aged 35 or less) is usually due to inherited heart conditions that run in families. Sudden cardiac death can be a complication of some heart conditions - these conditions can cause thickening or abnormal structure of the heart muscle; or irregularities of the electrical impulses that upset the natural rhythm of the heart.  Once a potentially life-threatening heart condition is identified, the risk of sudden death occurring can be significantly reduced through lifestyle modifications, medication or surgery.

Conditions which, if undetected, can lead to sudden cardiac death are listed here.



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