Doctors baffled by increase in Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS). Image: Claire Smith/Unsplash
DOCTORS in Australia are developing the country’s first SADS registry after recent incidents of healthy young people dying from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, or Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), is an “umbrella term to describe unexpected deaths in young people” and this ‘mysterious’ syndrome is said to have left doctors in Australia searching for more answers.
This has led doctors at Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute to create the country’s SADS registry which they hope to roll out across the country in order to gain more information about this sudden death phenomenon.
“In our registry, there are approximately 750 cases per year of people aged under 50 in Victoria suddenly having their heart stop (a cardiac arrest),” a spokeswoman said.
“Of these, approximately 100 young people per year will have no cause found 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 40 and the term is used when a post-mortem can find no obvious cause of death.
As reported by news.com.au, cardiologist and researcher Dr Elizabeth Paratz said Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute registry: “[allows you to see] people who have had the cardiac arrest with no cause was found on the back end.”
Dr Paratz said that “the majority of these SADS events, 90 per cent, occur outside the hospital – the person doesn’t make it – so it’s actually ambulance staff and forensics caring for the bulk of these patients.”
She added: “I think even doctors underestimate [SADS]. We only see the 10 per cent who survive and make it to hospital. We only see the tip of the iceberg ourselves.”
“If someone has a heart attack and you do an autopsy you might see a big clot, that’s a positive finding, but when someone’s had one of these SADS events, the heart is pristine,” she said.
“It’s really hard to know what to do.”
SADS Foundation, a US-based patient and family support program for those dealing with genetic conditions that cause sudden cardiac death in the young or who have lost a loved one to sudden unexplained death, said that “SADS conditions occur because the electrical system of the heart is not working properly, so that the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm.”
However, “these conditions can be treated and deaths can be prevented,” the foundation said.
The foundation added that SADS deaths in children, teens or young adults could be because of a family history of a SADS diagnosis or sudden unexplained death of a family member, fainting or seizure during exercise, or when excited or startled.
They also said that over half of the 4,000 annual SADS deaths in the country, within the aforementioned age ranges, have followed one of these warning signs.
As noted by the foundation, SADS events are not just confined to Australia or to adults, with Euro Weekly News…