A genetic risk of sudden cardiac arrest and sudden death due to an arrhythmic cause, known as sudden cardiac death (SCD), has become apparent from epidemiological studies in the general population and in patients with ischaemic heart disease. However, genetic susceptibility to sudden death is greatest in young people and is associated with uncommon, monogenic forms of heart disease. Despite comprehensive pathology and genetic evaluations, SCD remains unexplained in a proportion of young people and is termed sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, which poses challenges to the identification of relatives from affected families who might be at risk of SCD. In this Review, we assess the current understanding of the epidemiology and causes of SCD and evaluate both the monogenic and the polygenic contributions to the risk of SCD in the young and SCD associated with drug therapy. Finally, we analyse the potential clinical role of genomic testing in the prevention of SCD in the general population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine