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Circulation. 1999 Apr 20;99(15):1978-83.

Predicting sudden death in the population: the Paris Prospective Study I.

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Service de Cardiologie, Hôpital Boucicaut, Paris, France.



Sudden death was found to share the same set of usual risk factors as coronary events and therefore could not be specifically predicted in the population. It appears, however, that parental history of sudden death has not been investigated yet as a risk factor for sudden death. Therefore, we assessed risk factors, including parental sudden death, associated with the occurrence of sudden death in a long-term cohort study.


We included 7746 men employed by the city of Paris who were 43 to 52 years of age in 1967 to 1972 in the Paris Prospective Study I. Each subject underwent a physical examination and an ECG, provided blood for laboratory tests, and answered questionnaires administered by trained interviewers who paid particular attention to family medical history. Men with known ischemic cardiac disease were further excluded from analysis. For 95.5% of the men, vital status was obtained from specific inquiries until retirement, then by death certificates. Resting heart rate, systolic or diastolic blood pressure, tobacco consumption, body mass index, diabetes status, serum cholesterol, and parental history of sudden death were independent factors associated with sudden death during follow-up (23 years on average). When adjusted for confounding variables, including parental history of myocardial infarction, relative risk of sudden death associated with parental sudden death was 1.80 (95% CI, 1.11 to 2.88).


Parental sudden death is an independent risk factor for sudden death in middle-aged men. The existence of familial risk factors for sudden death may help provide better identification of subjects at high risk of and early prevention of sudden death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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