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Study: Hormone levels may predict risk of SCD

Friday May 10, 2013
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A new study is described as the first to show a connection between sex hormones and the risk of cardiac death.

The findings, presented May 10 at the annual meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, could help improve clinical predictors of sudden cardiac arrest in men and women, according to a news release.

The findings came from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, a large prospective community based study in Portland, Ore., that compared cases of sudden cardiac death with age- and gender-matched patients with coronary artery disease. Plasma was obtained at the time of the SCD events and during routine doctorís office visits by patients with coronary artery disease. Levels of testosterone and estrogen were measured in both groups.

Plasma testing showed that both groups of patients had similar proportions of many common cardiac risk factors including diabetes, obesity and average cholesterol levels. However, higher estradiol levels were strongly associated with SCD in both sexes. Testosterone levels were significantly lower in male SCD patients, but were slightly higher among female cases. Median estrogen levels were significantly higher and the testosterone/estrogen ratio was lower in SCD cases for both genders.

"Sudden cardiac arrest claims one life every two minutes and the only way we can help decrease these numbers is to identify clinical predictors of SCA before it happens," Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, FHRS, associate director for genomic cardiology and director of the Heart Rhythm Center at the Cedars Sinai Institute in Los Angeles, said in the news release.

"Sex hormones are known to have significant effects on cardiovascular physiology, but this is the first study that shows a direct connection between hormone levels and SCD risk."

SCA results in death in about 95% of cases and causes more than 350,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Read the study abstract: http://bit.ly/10Lynr6.

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