Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes

Editor’s Note:  This post originally appeared on the blog of Dr. Howard J. Luks. Dr. Luks  wrote this blog entry in collaboration with HCM expert Dr. Srihari S. Naidu of New York’s Westchester Medical Center. You can find the original post here.  You can find both Dr. Luks and Dr. Naidu on Twitter @hjluks and @SrihariNaiduMD.

Sudden cardiac death in young athletes continues with alarming frequency.  The most common cause of sudden death in the young athlete is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM.  Simply put, HCM means the heart muscle is bigger.  Many of us believe that bigger muscle means stronger muscle.  That is not always the case with the heart.  The heart is a mechanical pump with a complex arrangement of chambers which store the blood. How that pump works is controlled by a very complex electrical system.  Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can interfere with one or both of these critical functions of the heart and lead to sudden cardiac death.

Continue reading “Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes”

Guest Blogger – When a Seizure is not a Seizure – by Wendy Borsari

It’s strange to think that a chaotic arrhythmia in the heart might actually appear to be a seizure caused by something that has gone haywire in the brain, but with sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) this can sometimes happen.

This is the true story of what happened to my daughter.

Continue reading “Guest Blogger – When a Seizure is not a Seizure – by Wendy Borsari”

Parent Heart Watch Featured on TODAY

The work of Parent Heart Watch – an organization formed by parents of children who died due to sudden cardiac arrest -was featured on the Today show this week.

Parent Heart Watch works tirelessly so that AEDs are available in schools and on playing fields around the U.S. to ensure that children will not fall victim to SCA.

Great work PHW!

Lindsay Davis: Using Her Big Heart to Help Others With HCM

This article, published in this week’s Women’s Health magazine, features the former ballerina and beauty queen turned vocal patient activist. These days, Lindsay has focused her efforts on saving lives from sudden cardiac arrest.  Lindsay’s efforts in the state of Ohio have resulted in proposed legislation to identify student athletes at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, while her partnership with the American Heart Association is steadily making CPR and AED training a graduation requirement in high schools across the nation.

Watch for more life-saving advocacy from Lindsay in the future.  She is clearly much more than another pretty face!

Updated to include a video of Lindsay discussing her implantation with a S-ICD device.

Exercise Does Not Trigger Most HCM Deaths

According to research presented at the 2016 European Society of Cardiology Congress today, sudden cardiac arrest from HCM, which has long been thought to result from exercise, is actually more likely to occur at rest, or even during sleep, according to Dr. Gherardo Finocchiaro, a cardiologist at St George’s University in London.  Dr. Finocchiaro also pointed out that of the 184 HCM patients in his study, almost 80% had no previous symptoms of HCM, and only 1 in 5 had been diagnosed with HCM before their deaths.  Interestingly, most of the sudden deaths from HCM analyzed in the study occurred in patients in their 30s and 40s.

New Model for Predicting SCA?

8295557 - death and illness. red broken heart over grey background

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania have created a new model which they say can predict the risk of sudden cardiac arrest in people without known heart disease.   According to the article, published recently in Circulation, low levels of albumin, a protein commonly tested in routine blood panels, is a novel risk factor among the twelve factors identified.  This article in Cardiac Rhythm News offers more details.