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We had to turn off Mark's machine... there was no one there.

Byline: DAVID POWELL

THE family of a teenager who died after collapsing on a football field have an agonising wait to find out if any of them have the same condition as him.

Mark Price, 18, was having a kickabout with friends near his home in Glan Conwy when he collapsed of a heart attack caused by sudden adult death syndrome, an inquest heard.

Teenagers aged 16 and 17 gave Mark a heart massage until paramedics arrived, but he had suffered a heart attack and oxygen deprivation, and he tragically died 16 days later in hospital.

A post mortem found he'd died from bronchial pneumonia and brain damage, due to cardiac arrest, caused by "sudden adult death".

It is not known precisely what causes the syndrome, but it can be linked to underlying genetic conditions including arrhythmia of the heart. Now a world expert has advised his family to be screened to see if they are at risk.

North Wales Central acting coroner John Gittins yesterday recorded a verdict of death from natural causes.

The Llandudno hearing was told how Norwich City FC fan Mark, who had previously suffered several black outs, was having a kickabout with friends in Glan Conwy on Thursday February 24.

His father Tony, of Tryfan, Glan Conwy, said a pal rang him at 1.30pm to say Mark, a catering worker, had collapsed. Tony rushed to the scene where Mark had already been on the ground "for 15 to 20 minutes".

Paramedics arrived and took the unconscious teenager to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. He was sedated and staff advised his mother Dawn to speak to him and play his ipod music player. He respond by tapping his hand to the music.

But his condition was "irreversible" and he was also making "mechanical movements with his arms like a robot".

His family agreed to have his life support machine switched off and Mark died on Saturday March 12.

Dad Tony told the inquest: "Mark had not been 'there' for days and days and days. There was no good news. There was nobody there at all."

Pathologist Dr Andrew Dalton told the inquest that when Mark had suffered cardiac problems his brain had been starved of oxygen.

It was decided to send his heart to a "world expert" in sudden adult death syndrome, Dr Ruth Shepherd.

She found the heart to be normal but advised screening the immediate family for cardiological and genetic tests.

Dr Dalton said: "Sudden cardiac deaths with a normal heart are often associated with black outs. These deaths occur in young males. There are 500 cases per year in England alone. It's not uncommon but is absolutely tragic in every situation. There may be irregularities of the heart beat and it stops beating. Studies have shown genetic causes in 20% to 50% of cases."

He added: "There are a number of poorly understood causes to sudden unexpected cardiac arrest collapse (including) long QT syndrome and short QT Syndrome. Screening may give you more information and more comfort."

After the case, Mr Price said the family's screening results had been negative so far, but they were having more tests at Walton Hospital.

He said: "If the rest of the results are negative then we will know that we and our daughter will be safe."

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Keen football fan Mark Price
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 12, 2011
Words:556
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