Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome affects those in their thirties the most, new figures show

  • Leading clinician calls for greater participation in clinical audit

Strictly embargoed to 00:01 March 28 2013

Embargoed copies of the report available on request on March 26 2013

People aged 30 to 39 years are the age group most at risk of sudden death caused by irregular heart rhythms, also known as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).   

The new report from the National Audit of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome shows that the average age at death where recorded was 32, with almost a quarter of deaths in the 30 to 39 age group.

This is the third annual report from the audit and is based on an analysis of the 364 cases recorded since the audit began in July 2008. Details of 47 new cases have been added over the 12 months up to and including January 2013.

The audit is managed by the UK Cardiac Pathology Network (UK CPN) in collaboration with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), and is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).   

Other findings in the report show that of the 364 cases received:

  • More males than females were affected (58 per cent, or 203 males out of 352 cases where sex was recorded).
  • Data on the circumstances of death (of the 347 cases where this was known) show almost a third (31.2 per cent) of people died at rest, approximately a quarter (24.5. per cent) died while in bed or asleep and approximately a sixth (15.3 per cent) during some form of exertion.
  • 93 per cent of adult cases (aged 16 years or over) had no recorded history of illegal drug use (of 282 cases).

Dr Martin Goddard, Chairman of the UK CPN said: “Today’s report aims to raise awareness of SADS, not only for the benefit of cardiac specialists but for the public also.

It is crucial that details of SADS cases are submitted to this audit in order to help develop services for families affected by this condition.”

Non-specialist clinicians concerned with SADS cases can gain support from the UK CPN. Participation in the audit is open to any trust or heath board which has recorded incidences of SADS and they are encouraged to take part by contacting the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s audit team (0845 2576990 or

The report can be accessed from March 28

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), formerly the NHS Information Centre, is now known by its formal, legal name; reflecting its broader social care responsibilities. We are England’s authoritative, central, independent source of health and social care information. We work with a wide range of health and social care providers nationwide to provide the facts and figures that help the NHS and social services run effectively. Our role is to collect data, analyse it and convert it into useful information which helps providers improve their services and supports academics, researchers, regulators and policymakers in their work. We also produce a wide range of statistical publications each year across a number of areas.
  2. About HQIP: The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership is led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices.  Its aim is to promote quality improvement, and in particular to increase the impact of clinical audit in England and Wales.  HQIP’s work includes hosting the Department of Health contract to manage and develop the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP). The programme comprises more than 30 clinical audits that cover care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions.
  3. About UK CPN: The UK Cardiac Pathology Network is a network of cardiac pathologists throughout England and Wales established to provide local coroners with an expert cardiac pathology service, and for the promotion of best pathological practice in sudden cardiac death cases.
  4. For media enquiries and interview requests please call 0845 257 6990 or contact:

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