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Europace. 2016 Dec;18(12):1801-1808. doi: 10.1093/europace/euv403. Epub 2016 Jan 27.

Cardiac symptoms before sudden cardiac death caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: a nationwide study among the young in Denmark.

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Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Cardiac Arrhythmia (DARC), University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, Department of Cardiology, The Heart Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Cardiac Arrhythmia (DARC), University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, Minneapolis, MN, USA.



Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a frequent cause of sudden cardiac death (SCD) among the young (SCDY). The aim of this study was to characterize symptoms before SCDY due to HCM.


Through review of all death certificates, we identified all SCDs in Danes aged 1-35 years in 2000-2009. Nationwide we included all deaths (n = 8756) and identified 431 autopsied SCDYs. All available records from hospitals and general practitioners were retrieved. To compare symptoms, we included a control groups consisting of traffic accident victims (n = 74). In the 10-year study period, 431 autopsied SCDY cases were reviewed and 38 cases (9%) were included, of which 22 (58%) had morphologic findings diagnostic of HCM and 16 (42%) had findings suggestive, but not diagnostic, of HCM ('possible HCM'). Cardiac symptoms >1 h prior to death were reported in 21 (55%) of cases, and 16 (42%) sought medical attention. One (1%) control had cardiac symptoms before death. Consequently, a significantly higher proportion of cases had cardiac symptoms before death and cases more often sought medical attention than controls (P < 0.001).


In conclusion, this nationwide study demonstrates a high frequency of cardiac symptoms prior to death in SCDY cases who died of HCM, as 55% had cardiac symptoms and nearly half of the cases sought medical attention.


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Implantable cardioverter defibrillator; Signs and symptoms; Sport-related sudden cardiac death; Sudden cardiac death; Syncope

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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