Sudden cardiac death in South India: Incidence, risk factors and pathology

Uma N Srivatsa, K. Swaminathan, K. Sithy Athiya Munavarah, Ezra A Amsterdam, K. Shantaraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major cause of mortality secondary to coronary artery disease (CAD) in the industrialized societies. Although South Asians have a high prevalence of CAD, the frequency and underlying pathology of SCD among this population are unknown. Methods Medical records of consecutive patients presenting with unexplained sudden death (USD) in a tertiary care center were reviewed. Patients with trauma, violent deaths, positive toxicology and non-cardiac pathology were excluded to determine sudden cardiac death (SCD). Cardiac pathological findings were analyzed by autopsy. SCD rate was estimated based on census and government vital statistics for the years studied. Results During a two year period, 223 patients (mean age 55 + 10 yrs, 78.9% male, body mass index 26 + 4, 60% smokers, 39% known CAD, 46% hypertension, 43% diabetes) presented to hospital with USD. SCD was attributed to myocardial infarction (MI) in 87% of cases; 69% were acute (96% anterior MI); 76% were small/moderate infarct and 9.9% of the cohort had normal hearts. Based on official municipal vital statistics, the SCD rate in those >35 yrs of age was estimated as 39.7/100,000 with male/female ratio of 4.6. Conclusions SCD in this south Indian city occurred predominantly in men of relatively young age and was most frequently associated with small or moderate-sized acute MI. Improved health care access, preventive measures and enhanced emergency management may reduce SCD from acute MI in this locale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalIndian Pacing and Electrophysiology Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Autopsy
  • Risk factors
  • South India
  • Sudden cardiac death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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