Gender differences in sudden cardiac death in the young-a nationwide study

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Bo Gregers Winkel, Bjarke Risgaard, Thea Bjune, Reza Jabbari, Thomas Hadberg Lynge, Charlotte Glinge, Henning Bundgaard, Stig Haunsø, Jacob Tfelt-Hansen

Background: Hitherto, sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the young has been described with no distinction between genders. SCD occurs more often in men (SCDm) than women (SCDw), but this disparity is not understood and has not been investigated systematically in a nationwide setting. Our objective was to report gender differences in SCD in the young in a nationwide (Denmark) setting. Methods: All deaths in persons aged 1-35 years nationwide in Denmark between 2000 and 2009 were included. Death certificates and autopsy reports were obtained. The extensive health care registries in Denmark were used to investigate any known disease prior to death. SCDw were compared to SCDm. Results: During the 10-year study period there were a total of 8756 deaths in 23.7 million person-years. In total, 635 deaths were SCD. SCDw constituted 205 deaths (32%). Women had a higher proportion of witnessed deaths (51 vs. 41%, p=0.02) and died less often in a public place (16 vs. 26%, p=0.01). Age at death, ratios of autopsies and sudden unexplained deaths, and comorbidities, did not differ. Causes of SCD were largely comparable between genders. The incidence rate of SCDw was half of that of SCDm (1.8 vs. 3.6 per 100,000 person-years, incidence rate ratio 2.0 (95% CI 1.7-2.4), p<0.01). Conclusions: Incidence rate ratio of SCDm vs SCDw is 2. Young SCDw and SCDm are equally investigated, have comparable comorbidity, and causes of SCD. SCD due to potentially inherited cardiac diseases is less often in young women and could reflect a protection of female gender.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • Causes of death, Comorbidity, Epidemiology, Gender, Registries, SCD, Sudden cardiac death, Sudden death, Young

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