MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Thomas Hadberg Lynge MD
The Department of Cardiology
The Heart Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Congenital heart defects are common and affect ≈0.8% of all live births. Despite substantially improve survival over the past decades, morbidity and mortality remain significant, in particular among patients with complex congenital heart defects. This decreased life expectancy is in part explained by an increased risk of sudden cardiac death among people with congenital heart defects. However, the incidence of sudden cardiac death among people with congenital heart defects is largely unknown in an unselected and nationwide setting.
Sudden cardiac death can occur both at rest and during exercise and it is well-known that exercise is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death during activity. Fear of sudden cardiac death has led to restrictions of physical activity among patients with congenital heart defects and these patients have lower levels of physical activity compared with healthy peers. Appropriate counseling of these patients requires estimates on risk of sudden cardiac death in relation to physical activity.
Nationwide fetal ultrasound screening was implemented in Denmark in 2005 and this together with improved surgical and medical treatment during the study period, is likely to have changed the epidemiology of sudden cardiac death in people with congenital heart defects. It was therefore also an important aim of the study to examine temporal changes in sudden cardiac death in people with congenital heart defects.