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SADS, a condition that strikes suddenly but fatally
August 09, 2007 14:26 IST
Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, a little known condition which kills healthy persons with no history of heart ailments, is on the rise.
SADS has claimed 4.5 lakh lives in the United Kingdom so far, Nigel Wheeldon, a cardiologist from the South Yorkshire Cardiothoracic Centre in Sheffield, said.
Wheeldon, who is on his way to Beijing [Images], made a stopover in Kolkata on Wednesday. He is currently on a 'Round the World Charity Flight' to help victims of SADS and genetically inherited heart diseases.
The British cardiologist will visit 26 countries during his tour.
In spite of advances in cardiac treatment, awareness level about SADS and other inherited heart conditions remained sub-optimal, he said. Another alarming factor is that SADS victims were mostly young, in the age group of 11 to18 years.
According to Wheeldon, there isn't much data available on SADS cases in India. But he pointed out that the death of Dempo footballer Christiano Junior, during the Federation Cup, was due to SADS.
Wheeldon cited the example of Lisa Browne, a nurse in the UK, who passed away after hearing an alarm go off. Similarly, another SADS victim died after hearing the mobile phone ring.
Unlike other heart conditions, there are no prior warning signals for SADS. It strikes suddenly yet fatally.
SADS is often caused by diseased heart muscles, said Wheeldon. These include cardiomyopathies or a disorder known as Marfan's Syndrome, where heart valves and the aorta become abnormally large.
But Wheeldon believes that SADS, if detected early, can be treated. Patients often show symptoms of chest pain, breathlessness, palpitation and blackout.
"Infra cardiac defibrillation, required to keep the rhythm of the heart normal, can help such patients," said Wheeler.