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Old 01-07-2005, 06:38 PM   #1
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Sudden Cardiac Death

What do any of you know about sudden cardiac death? Is it hereditary? If a person dies of SCD, can this be seen on an autopsy? My dad was thirty, 5.6, and 130 pounds when he died while swimming laps in a pool. He had never smoked, drank alcohol or caffeine. His autopsy was completely negative, and they called it an accidental drowning, inspite of the fact he was a swimmer. This was in '85. I am 24, and recently had an abnormal EKG, positive tilt test, and event monitor showed tachycardia, diagnosed with Inappropriate sinus tachycardia, but I'm having an EP study next week. Just wondering if maybe my other siblings, and my daughter, should have some cardiac testing done...maybe there IS something genetic here. What do you think?

 
Old 01-07-2005, 10:50 PM   #2
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Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

There are a lot of things that can lead to SCD. Ask your cardiologist if your specific condition has hereditary factors, explain your father's history, and get the doc's input on having siblings examined.
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:12 AM   #3
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Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

Card,

I have CAD, have had a couple of heart attacks, 5 bypasses and have and ICD because of low EF and am highly likely to have SCD, or so I'm told. Many types of heart disease are hereditary while some are brought on by viral infections of one type or another. So to answer you question about SCD, I don't think anyone can really answer that. In my case, there isn't any family history of heart disease and that goes back several generations. I don't know if SCD would show up on an autopsy because according to my EP doc and Cardio Doc, SCD is generally caused by an electrical malfunction in the heart. This causes V-tach or V-fib and leads to all kinds of problems in very short order. An EP study enables the doctor to "map" the pathways the electrical impulse take in your heart. The doctor also attempts to induce an "event" where the heart stops or goes into V-fib. If he can induce such an event then you are a candidate for and ICD which monitors your heart and can defibrilate it should the need arise. It can also pace your heart to maintain set rates etc. All in all it is amazing stuff. I have an ICD and am very thankful for it.

What I have tried to relay here is all in very general or basic terms. In the end, you need to have this study done for some peace of mind as you have stated that you have some heart problems. Your siblings may be smart to get some basic tests done to check themselves out. Your daughter isn't necessarily in need of that depending on her age and health. You are young yet and your daughter probably isn't very old and will be seeing doctors for shots and general childhood check-ups with some regularity. You can mention your condition to her pediatrician and he/she can check her out then.

Sorry about rambling on here. Good luck with the EP study.

 
Old 01-10-2005, 10:41 PM   #4
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Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

A heart muscle disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause the dangerous rhythm, ventricular tachcardia, to develop. This often develops into ventricular fibrillation followed by cardiac arrest. When you hear of a young fit person dying suddenly on the football field this is usually the cause. There is a strong genetic component, and much research is being done to develop a single genetic blood test to exclude this disease. Its course is highly variable and some people live to a great old age without any real problems. Others develop complications, but often these don't occur until people are in their 50's (this was true in my case). It is commonly diagnosed by cardiac echogram. I would have thought that micro-examination of the heart muscle at autopsy would have revealed the disease in your Dad. I am not medically qualified, but I would consult a cardiologist/electro-physiologist as there is a strong genetic component, and if your Dad was a victim of this disorder, you need to be monitored yourself. I have an implanted (chest wall) defibrillator to stop any episodes of VT with an electric shock straight into the heart ventricles. Also, there are quite effective drugs available. But the important thing is for you to find out about your heart. Good Luck. Please do not worry at this stage, but see an expert !
Excelsoir

 
Old 01-20-2005, 10:41 PM   #5
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Unhappy Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

Quote:
Originally Posted by Excelsoir
A heart muscle disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can cause the dangerous rhythm, ventricular tachcardia, to develop. This often develops into ventricular fibrillation followed by cardiac arrest. When you hear of a young fit person dying suddenly on the football field this is usually the cause. There is a strong genetic component, and much research is being done to develop a single genetic blood test to exclude this disease. Its course is highly variable and some people live to a great old age without any real problems. Others develop complications, but often these don't occur until people are in their 50's (this was true in my case). It is commonly diagnosed by cardiac echogram. I would have thought that micro-examination of the heart muscle at autopsy would have revealed the disease in your Dad. I am not medically qualified, but I would consult a cardiologist/electro-physiologist as there is a strong genetic component, and if your Dad was a victim of this disorder, you need to be monitored yourself. I have an implanted (chest wall) defibrillator to stop any episodes of VT with an electric shock straight into the heart ventricles. Also, there are quite effective drugs available. But the important thing is for you to find out about your heart. Good Luck. Please do not worry at this stage, but see an expert !
Excelsoir

My dad died Jan. 12th, this month he was found dead in his bed and there was a small pool of blood at the edge of the bed where he lays his head. I never saw his body. Afterwards, i spotted the blood stains on his bedsheets that permeated to the mattress. The police were there and called me to tell me he was found dead. So, far there was no suspicious foul play but everyone is saying it is an heart attack because he had angina!! I have not receive his death certificate to see what the cause of death is and he has already cremated. I knew in the past that he has stated many times that the doctors said he has an enlarged heart.

Does anybody know if there is an connection between "angina" and an enlarged heart? Also, does a heart attack bring up blood from inside that would cause blood stains on the bed where he was laying down?

I am trying to find closure to this mystery about his death and i appreciate any feedback from anyone!!

 
Old 01-21-2005, 02:16 AM   #6
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Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

An enlarged heart usually indicates a degree of left ventricular failure (heart failure). It usually takes a long time to develop and the are other symptoms like breathlessness and fluid retention around the lungs and swollen ankles. Angina is caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart usually due to arteriolosclerosis and can be the precurser to a heart attack when the supply fails.It sounds as though his death was sudden, so it is more likely to be a heart attack than heart failure, especially as he suffered from angina.I can't comment on the presence of blood re the cause of his death.I am not medically qualified, but the enlarged heart could have been indicative of an old heart wearing out, and not directly the cause of his death which was probably a "heart attack". A Doctor will have noted the cause of death on his death certificate, and this is the authority you will have to accept.I hope you are dealing with your father's death OK and don't become obsessed with the cause.This may not be a good way for you to deal with it. I wish you and your family the best.
Regards, Excelsoir

 
Old 01-21-2005, 03:00 PM   #7
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Question Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

Quote:
Originally Posted by Excelsoir
An enlarged heart usually indicates a degree of left ventricular failure (heart failure). It usually takes a long time to develop and the are other symptoms like breathlessness and fluid retention around the lungs and swollen ankles. Angina is caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart usually due to arteriolosclerosis and can be the precurser to a heart attack when the supply fails.It sounds as though his death was sudden, so it is more likely to be a heart attack than heart failure, especially as he suffered from angina.I can't comment on the presence of blood re the cause of his death.I am not medically qualified, but the enlarged heart could have been indicative of an old heart wearing out, and not directly the cause of his death which was probably a "heart attack". A Doctor will have noted the cause of death on his death certificate, and this is the authority you will have to accept.I hope you are dealing with your father's death OK and don't become obsessed with the cause.This may not be a good way for you to deal with it. I wish you and your family the best.
Regards, Excelsoir

Thank you for your reply. I just want to find the true answer because there is no autopsy done. To see the blood on his bed makes one wonder what really happened? I am wondering if something burst inside that could of cause blood to come up?

Also, i am wondering if an enlarged heart is hereditary/genetic? I am his only child. I will not be obsessed but just want to know the truth .....

 
Old 01-22-2005, 09:39 PM   #8
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Question Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

Does anyone know if it is common for the body to have fluids come up (looking blood-like) after a person dies ... that could of been a sudden heart? Maybe something burst inside the heart???

 
Old 02-20-2005, 07:08 PM   #9
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Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

Quote:
Originally Posted by starbright04
Does anyone know if it is common for the body to have fluids come up (looking blood-like) after a person dies ... that could of been a sudden heart? Maybe something burst inside the heart???
My Dad died suddenly in July 2003...he had just turned 49. When he died he was out to lunch with a friend and collapsed. When he collapsed blood was spurting out of his mouth. I later was told that it there was also blood coming out of his ears and nose too. He died of a massive heart attack. I don't understand the blood thing. I cant stand thinking of my dad going through that either. Its so sad.....

 
Old 02-22-2005, 09:03 AM   #10
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Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

First of all I am so sorry to hear of all your losses. A sudden death is never easy because there's no chance to say goodbye.

My father also passed away from Sudden Cardiac Death in 1994. He had high blood pressure for many years but never knew it because he was the type who didn't go to doctors. He also had a Left Bundle Branch Block and an enlarged heart.

My father was very active man. He worked construction all his life then retired at 62 because he was getting older and wanted to enjoy his "golden years." After he retired he kept busy doing things around the house and yard and was constantly walking the dog. He would walk 3 miles a day.

I went to the doctor with him and the doctor said there were a few tests he'd like to do but as long as my father had no symptoms there was no rush. He told him to come back in 3 months. A week later I found him dead on the bathroom floor. I knew he was gone when I looked at him. It's amazing that none of us heard him fall because he was a big man. He was 5 ' 11" and weighed 250 lbs.

There was no reason for an autopsy and we didn't want one anyway. There was no blood anywhere except for a little bit on the floor. I asked my brother what it was from and he said that my father hit his head and it bled. There was no blood coming from any other part of his body so I can't explain that part to you. I wish I could.

To this day I still feel guilty because I didn't hear my father fall or that I couldn't help him. I was trained in CPR and I couldn't help my own father. I still live in the same house and I never go in the bathroom without thinking about him. I feel bad because of all the places for him to die why did it have to be by himself in a bathroom.

I keep thinking that maybe the signs of an impending heart attack were apparent but he didn't say anything because he knew we worried about my older brother who dying of Colon Cancer. My father was very stressed out over my brother being sick and a month after my father died we lost my brother. There are so many "what ifs" and "if only's" that we can all drive ourselves crazy looking for the answers but I think there is no answer and it was meant to be. We're always going to miss them but someday these questions will no longer be the first thing on your mind. It's always going to bother you and you will always be looking for the answer. It might be a good idea to call their doctors and set up an appointment. Maybe they can give you the answers you are looking for.

Heart disease runs in my family and I do not have an enalrged heart nor do my siblings. I do have high blood pressure and so do my siblings. We also have Mitral Valve and Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation and so do a few of my cousins so therefore they are thinking it might be hereditary.

I think it would be a good idea to make an appointment with a cardiologist and you should be checked based upon your family history. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure when I was 23 so it's never too soon to start.

 
Old 02-22-2005, 11:17 AM   #11
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Re: Sudden Cardiac Death

card,
Can you amplify a bit?
The reason I ask is that if they gave the cause of death as "accidental drowning" there must have been some sort of finding confirming that on autopsy. Something involving the amount of water in the lungs and the like.
THere is also usually some evidence of the heart disease that caused the sudden death if that is the final diagnosis.

If he indeed died from drowning, any convulsive or strokelike process, anything that could cause loss of consciousness could have killed him by causing his drowning. You can see, it's easier to diagnose someone found on a floor.

What makes you think it was "sudden cardiac death?"

Last edited by Lenin; 02-22-2005 at 11:18 AM.

 
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