What is SADS? Healthy young people dying from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

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The heartbroken mother of a fit and healthy 31-year-old who died suddenly in her sleep has issued an urgent plea to young people.

Thank You BRO, aDh

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”  Psalms 95:6 (KJV) 

Young people with a particular family history are being urged to get their hearts screened even if they are fit and healthy, as they could be at risk of 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”, usually under 40, when a post-mortem can find no obvious cause of death, according to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

While national figures are not available, Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute is developing the country’s first SADS registry, which it hopes to eventually roll out across the country.

“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).”

Cardiologist and researcher Dr Elizabeth Paratz said Baker’s registry was the first in Australia and one of only a few in the world that combined ambulance, hospital and forensics information.

“(It allows you to see) people have had the cardiac arrest and no cause was found on the back end,” she said.

Dr Paratz said the lack of awareness around the issue was likely because “a lot of it takes place outside of traditional med…

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