Genetic heart defects are rarely the cause of SIDS

By Robert Preidt

health day reporter

MONDAY, March 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Heart disease linked to genetic defects is causing far fewer cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than previously thought, according to a new study.

In a genetic investigation of 419 cases of SIDS, Mayo Clinic researchers found that genetic mutations associated with heart disease accounted for about 5%.

Previous studies have suggested that such mutations could cause up to 20% of SIDS deaths.

The new study was published on March 12 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The findings open new areas of study into the causes of SIDS and may help reduce unnecessary genetic testing of surviving family members, the researchers say.

“Thanks to this research, we now know that the vast majority of SIDS cases do not stem from genetic heart disease,” study co-lead author Dr. Michael Ackerman said in a press release from the Society. Mayo Clinic.

Ackerman is director of the Long QT Syndrome/Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic and Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory at the Minnesota Clinic.

“We are now turning our attention to genes involved in other organ systems, such as the brain, to determine their potential contribution. Additionally, we are now exploring other genetic contributions to SIDS, as it is now abundantly clear that most cases of SIDS are not due to a single genetic cause,” he explained.

SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby less than one year old. It occurs in 0.5 in every 1,000 live births in the United States, which accounts for up to 80% of all unexpected infant deaths. The risk is maximum between 2 and 4 months.