Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome or SADS, is caused by abnormalities in the heart rhythm. SADS can cause sudden death in young people who appear to be healthy. This condition has treatment available, but only if diagnosed.  There are some warning signs such as a family history of unexplained death under the age of 40, problems during exercise like fainting or seizures, constant or unusual chest pain, and shortness of breath during exercise. It may be that cardiac arrest is the first indication that there is a problem. Sometimes, this condition can be passed down from parent to child. It is estimated that over half of the 4000 SADS deaths each year concerning children, teens, or young adults, had at least one of those warning signs.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest and SADS

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is uncommon in young people.  In the general population, the chance of SCA is highest in people with known angina, a history of heart attacks, cholesterol problems, or furred arteries. However, because these conditions are rare in the under 35’s, sudden cardiac arrest in the young tends to be caused by other diseases. Due to a number of factors, it is difficult to know the exact numbers of people affected by sudden cardiac arrest in the under 35 age group.

However, there are some things you should know:

  • Screening for cardiac conditions with a medical consultation and an ECG significantly reduces rates of SCA in the young
  • Prompt resuscitation with CPR and defibrillation improves outcomes significantly.
  • SCA in the young is undoubtedly more difficult for families, friends and communities to adjust to than when it affects the older populations.
  • Finally, some estimates suggest that SCA occurs in approximately 10 people under the age of 35 every week in the UK.

Help You Can Give

270 children die due to sudden cardiac arrest at school each year. This proves the importance of training and AED units in our schools.  There are many campaigns to increase awareness of SADS and drive down figures like the ones mentioned above. These include the Oliver King Foundation and Hand on Heart. Any support you can give to charities like these will help.

It is important to be aware of this risk and to increase training in this area. Increasing the number of AED units in schools will also improve survival rates. For more information on training courses, visit our “Courses” page which also includes our FREE Student First Aid Course. This is available free to all schools across the United Kingdom. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact us via our website or call us on 01206 805359.