Inherited disease may be causative in many young sudden unexpected death cases. Autopsy is essential in the counselling of the bereaved, as the family of the victim may be at risk too. In a nationwide setting operating under the same set of laws, we hypothesized that regional differences exist in the investigation of young persons dying suddenly and unexpectedly.
All deaths in persons aged 1-35 years in Denmark in 2000-2006 were included. Death certificates were read independently by two physicians. External examination as well as autopsy status was retrieved. Significant regional differences were found regarding external examinations and autopsy frequencies. Ratios of conducted external examinations varied between 63% and 93% (p?=?0.004). Autopsy ratios varied between 60% and 88% (p?=?0.001). In urban areas, external examinations and autopsies were more often conducted than in rural areas. In East Denmark, there were more external examinations resulting in a forensic autopsy, and there was a higher overall autopsy rate compared to West Denmark.
Despite operating under the same set of laws, we document significant regional differences in forensic investigations of young persons suffering a sudden unexpected death. This is probably not unique for Denmark although no data exist to confirm that. The results are worrying and call for a revision of the way these deaths are handled. Mandatory autopsy in sudden unexpected death in young persons is warranted as a thorough investigation of the death may help the clinician in guidance of the relatives in relation to hereditary diseases.
Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Cardiac Arrhythmia (DARC), Copenhagen, Denmark; Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, Department of Cardiology, The Heart Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
BACKGROUND: Studies on incidences of sports-related sudden cardiac death (SrSCD) are few and data are needed for the discussion of preparticipation screening for cardiac disease. OBJECTIVE: We sought to chart the incidence and etiology of SrSCD in the young in Denmark (population 5.4 million) and to compare this to the incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the background population. METHODS: All 5,662 death certificates for decedents in the period 2000 to 2006 in the age group 12 to 35 years in Denmark were read independently by 2 physicians to identify cases of SCD. Information from autopsy reports, selected hospital records, and multiple registries was used to identify cases of SCD and SrSCD. SrSCD was defined as SCD occurring during or within 1 hour after exercise in a competitive athlete. The size of the athlete population was estimated from national survey data. RESULTS: Fifteen (range 0 to 5 per year) cases of SrSCD were found, 8 of which had antecedent symptoms. The incidence rate was 1.21 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.68 to 2.00) per 100,000 athlete person-years. The most common autopsy findings were arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (n = 4), sudden unexplained death (n = 4), and coronary artery disease (n = 2). The incidence of SCD in the general population age 12 to 35 was 3.76 (95% CI: 3.42 to 4.14) per 100,000 person-years. CONCLUSION: In Denmark, SrSCD is a rare occurrence and the incidence rate is lower than that of SCD in the general population. This may imply a low value of preparticipation screening of athletes in Denmark.
Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a cardiac ion channelopathy which presents clinically with palpitations, syncope or sudden death. More than 700 LQTS-causing mutations have been identified in 13 genes, all of which encode proteins involved in the execution of the cardiac action potential. The most frequently affected genes, covering > 90% of cases, are KCNQ1, KCNH2 and SCN5A.
We describe 64 different mutations in 70 unrelated Danish families using a routine five-gene screen, comprising KCNQ1, KCNH2 and SCN5A as well as KCNE1 and KCNE2.
Twenty-two mutations were found in KCNQ1, 28 in KCNH2, 9 in SCN5A, 3 in KCNE1 and 2 in KCNE2. Twenty-six of these have only been described in the Danish population and 18 are novel. One double heterozygote (1.4% of families) was found. A founder mutation, p.F29L in KCNH2, was identified in 5 "unrelated" families. Disease association, in 31.2% of cases, was based on the type of mutation identified (nonsense, insertion/deletion, frameshift or splice-site). Functional data was available for 22.7% of the missense mutations. None of the mutations were found in 364 Danish alleles and only three, all functionally characterised, were recorded in the Exome Variation Server, albeit at a frequency of
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Cites: Am J Hum Genet. 2010 Jun 11;86(6):872-8020560207
Cites: BMC Med Genet. 2010;11:11720670400
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Aims The aim of this investigation was to study the incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in persons aged 1-35 years in a nationwide setting (5.38 million people) by systematic evaluation of all deaths. Methods and results All deaths in persons aged 1-35 years in Denmark in 2000-06 were included. Death certificates were read independently by two physicians. The National Patient Registry was used to retrieve information on prior medical history. All autopsy reports were read and the cause of death was revised based on autopsy findings. We identified 625 cases of sudden unexpected death (10% of all deaths), of which 156 (25%) were not autopsied. Of the 469 autopsied cases, 314 (67%) were SCD. The most common cardiac cause of death was ischaemic heart disease (13%); 29% of autopsied sudden unexpected death cases were unexplained. In 45% of SCD cases, the death was witnessed; 34% died during sleep; 89% were out-of-hospital deaths. Highest possible incidence rate of SCD in the young was 2.8 per 100 000 person-years including non-autopsied cases of sudden unexpected death. Excluding those, the incidence rate declined to 1.9 per 100 000 person-years. Conclusions A total of 7% of all deaths in the young can be attributed to SCD, when including non-autopsied cases (autopsy ratio 75%). The incidence rate of SCD in the young of 2.8 per 100 000 person-years is higher than previously reported.
The prevalence of the Brugada-type electrocardiogram (ECG) in the Danish population is not known.
Inhabitants from the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, have participated in a prospective study since 1976. Four cross-sectional surveys have been carried out. Follow-up was performed using public registers. At each examination, the participants had an ECG registered. ECGs, showing right bundle branch block (RBBB) were examined for a possible Brugada-type pattern. A total of 42,560 ECGs had been registered from 18,974 participants. 1,284 had been coded as RBBB. Among these ECGs, we found no ECGs showing type 1 Brugada pattern, and 14 showing type 2 or 3 pattern. The prevalence of the total number of ECGs with Brugada pattern was 7/10,000. None of the subjects with a Brugada-pattern ECG died suddenly during follow-up.
The Brugada-type ECG pattern is rare in the general Danish population. None of the subjects with a Brugada-type ECG died suddenly during a follow-up of 6-33 years.
Abstract Background. Incidence of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) differs among studies and non-autopsied cases are difficult to assess. Objectives. To investigate causes of sudden death in infancy in a nationwide setting. Validate the use of the ICD-10 code for SIDS (R95) in the Danish Cause of Death registry. Design. A retrospective analysis of all infant deaths (