November 14, 2012

Study shows importance of genetic screening

Man with childrenRelatives of young people who have died suddenly from a heart-related problem have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease themselves, according to new research.

Researchers in Denmark identified 470 victims of sudden cardiac death and followed their relatives for up to 11 years. They found that relatives under 35 were three times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than the general population.

Screening gives the best chance of identifying problems and offering treatment at an early stage

Doireann Maddock, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “Sudden cardiac death in the young is often linked to an inherited heart problem, so the findings of this Danish study come as no surprise.

“Screening the family members of sudden cardiac death victims is crucial, as it gives the best chance of identifying problems and offering treatment at an early stage. That’s why we’ve been working with the Department of Health for many years to encourage coroners and their offices to help families to access essential genetic services.

“If there has been a sudden cardiac death in your family, our genetic information service can provide you with more information and support during this difficult time.”

This research was published in the European Heart Journal.

You can contact our genetic information service on 0300 456 8383. Phone lines are open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.