Sudden cardiac death (SCD) has a strong familial component; however, our understanding of its genetic basis varies significantly according to the underlying causes. When coronary artery disease is involved, the predisposing genetic background is complex and despite some interesting findings it remains largely unknown. Quite different is the case of monogenic structural and non-structural heart diseases, in which a number of disease-causing genes have been established and are being used in clinical practice. As SCD can be the first clinical manifestation of inherited syndromes, in order to ascertain the cause of death, it is extremely important to include molecular autopsy among the standard post-mortem examinations. Indeed, molecular screening of the major disease-causing genes in the deceased person is often the only way to achieve a post-mortem diagnosis in channelopathies, which may prove crucial for the identification and management of at risk family members. Overall, these data, together with the inclusion in current guidelines of molecular screening for diagnosis and/or risk stratification of specific inherited cardiac diseases, exemplify how research on the genetic basis of SCD may be deeply translational, while the transition of genetic testing from the research to the diagnostic setting is already improving every-day clinical practice.
- Sudden cardiac death
- Whole exome sequencing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine