Sudden Cardiac Death

What is the difference between Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) and Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD)?

Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) is the term used for any dramatic and/or spontaneous death that is thought to be (and usually is) caused by a sudden change in the heart’s rhythm. This is more common in older people. There may be many underlying heart conditions that could cause this sudden rhythm change. The most common cause, usually confirmed at autopsy or post-mortem, is coronary disease or hardening or ‘blockages’ of the arteries or blood vessels supplying the heart muscle. Other potential causes include heart muscle disorders (also known as cardiomyopathy), structural heart defects that may have been present from birth (congenital heart conditions) and infection or inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis). If a person dies from SCD, but no cause is identified, then this is classified or ‘diagnosed’ as a sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS).