Cardiology Research

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Getting to the heart of sudden death in young Vietnamese

With support from the Hoc Mai Foundation, an important new collaborative effort was launched in 2008 to investigate the causes of sudden cardiac death in young people in Vietnam. In a joint initiative between researchers at the University of Sydney and collaborators in Hanoi, a review of the causes of sudden death in Vietnam will be performed in an attempt to identify potential genetic (inherited) factors responsible for these tragic and often unexplained deaths.

A/Prof Chris Semsarian & PhD student Emily Tu

The research team from Sydney, which includes Professor Chris Semsarian and PhD student Emily Tu (pictured) have visited Dr Dang Van Duong in Hanoi to establish the study, which will look through post-mortem records, identify sudden death cases, and develop a cohort of sudden death cases in Vietnam over the last 10 years for further clinical, pathological, and genetic studies. A prospective study of sudden cardiac death cases will also be undertaken. The potential clinical benefits of understanding why young people in Vietnam die suddenly, and whether faulty genes play a role, is enormous, as Prof Semsarian explains:

"Understanding the inherited causes of sudden death in Vietnam will provide a platform for developing clinical and genetic screening programs in Vietnamese families where a sudden death has occurred, with the ultimate goal to identify disease early in relatives, initiate appropriate prevention, and prevent sudden death in the communities of Vietnam".