New Study Searches for Clues to Leading Cause of Sudden Death in Young

Feb. 5, 2014

Young woman runningHeart muscle disorders called arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathies or AVCs are a rare but underappreciated group of disorders, says cardiology researcher Wojciech Zareba, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Rochester’s Heart Research Follow-up Program. They account for up to 20 percent of cases of sudden death in young people and are considered the third greatest reason for sudden death in people below the age of 65 in Europe and the fourth in the United States. They usually appear in the mid 30’s and are frequently diagnosed in athletes.

Genes are responsible for approximately 40 percent of cases, but what’s behind the remaining 60 percent remains a mystery.

Zareba and a team of researchers in the School of Medicine and Dentistry received $2.9 million from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health to search for new genes that cause AVCs and biomarkers that can help physicians better identify and treat these notoriously hard-to-diagnose disorders. The team is partnering with physicians and scientists from the University of Cincinnati, University of Arizona, University of Colorado and Harvard University to conduct the study.

Read more about the research here