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SCA: family ties.

When an apparently healthy person suddenly dies, family members are left wondering whether the mysterious killer might strike another loved one. In a study published in the November 1, 2003, issue of Lancet, investigators provide some important clues into the heart problems that might be linked to sudden death and what doctors can do to help identify those at risk.

In the study, Elijah Behr and his colleagues identified 32 sudden deaths in previously healthy people aged 4 to 64. The research team then performed extensive cardiovascular testing on 109 of 147 available first-degree relatives of the victims.

Data show clinical evidence of potentially inheritable heart disease in 22 percent of the families (7 of 32), including heart muscle and electrical problems.

About 13 percent of families with a sudden death had evidence of ECG abnormalities. Halter tests, exercise stress tests, and echocardiograms identified an additional three families at risk.
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Title Annotation:Neighborhood Heart Watch; sudden cardiac arrest
Author:Zipes, Douglas
Publication:Medical Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:150
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