Question: If I have a relative who died suddenly, do I need to get my child examined?
Answer :If one of your relatives died suddenly it's very important to have your child screened for a potential cardiac problem that may be inherited in your family, particularly if the age of the relative is less than 50 years old. We think that inherited rhythm disturbances and other problems that can cause sudden death in young people are likely to occur in other family members and they could be inherited disorders.
Approximately one out of very 200,000 young athletes dies suddenly. In the United States, the most common cause is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an anomalous coronary artery. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an abnormal thickening of the heart that can lead to a rhythm disturbance. An anomalous coronary artery is a coronary artery that originates from an abnormal area.
There are also inherited arrhythmias that can be passed down through family members and may affect individuals from one generation to the next generation variably. So if you have a family member who's had an episode of near sudden death or who's died suddenly, it's very important to have other family members screened to ensure that they are not at risk.