Common Causes of Sudden Cardiac Death

In this article, we will discuss the Common Causes of Sudden Cardiac Death. So, let’s get started.


1. Coronary artery diseases (80%)

  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Acute MI or healed MI
  • Previous MI with myocardial scarring
  • Anomalous coronary artery anatomy

2. Myocardial diseases

  • Ventricular hypertrophy, e.g. LVH, RVH, CHF
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, e.g. obstructive and nonobstructive
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Inflammatory or infiltrative diseases, e.g. myocarditis, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia

3. Valvular heart diseases

  • Aortic stenosis/regurgitation
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Endocarditis

4. Congenital heart diseases

  • Stenotic lesions (aortic or pulmonary)
  • Eisenmenger’s syndrome
  • Postoperative repair of Fallot’s tetralogy

5. Nonstructural heart disease (e.g. electrophysiological abnormalities)

  • Prolonged QT syndrome (congenital or acquired)
  • Brugada syndrome. It is characterised by a defect in sodium channels function and an abnormal ECG (RBBB and ST elevation V1 and V2 without prolongation of QT interval)
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (Kent bundle conduction)
  • Adverse drug reactions leading to torsade de pointes
  • Electrolyte disturbances (severe hypokalemia)
  • Acid-base disturbance, e.g. severe acidosis

6. Miscellaneous

  • Massive pulmonary embolism, air embolism
  • Aortic dissection
  • Cafe coronary

Potentially reversible causes of cardiac arrest

  • Hypovolemia
  • Hypoxia
  • Hypo or hyperkalemia
  • Hypothermia
  • Thromboembolism
  • Tension pneumothorax
  • Tamponade
  • Toxic disturbance or therapeutic disturbances

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