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Patients receiving dialysis are at a heightened risk for sudden cardiac death
Date:11/14/2010

Approximately 500,000 Americans require dialysis to treat kidney disease; of that population nearly half of the deaths that occur are caused by cardiovascular disease. Dialysis patients are at elevated risk for sudden cardiac death, but physicians are unclear why these deaths occur because little research has been done to examine how to best manage heart disease in this high-risk population.

Northwestern Medicine cardiologist Rod Passman, MD, medical director for the Center for Atrial Fibrillation at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital will present a paper at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions being held November 13 through 17 in Chicago about sudden cardiac death in dialysis patients. Passman is working to increase understanding within the medical community about this heightened mortality risk and how to prevent sudden cardiac death among this rapidly growing patient population.

"Dialysis patients have extraordinarily high mortality rates with cardiac disease accounting for 43 percent of deaths in this population; data indicates that approximately 27 percent of the mortalities are due to sudden cardiac death," said Passman, who is also an associate professor of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "Patients on dialysis are excluded from clinical trials examining sudden cardiac death because of their kidney disease. The lack of research complicates clinicians' ability to understand the connection between renal disease and cardiovascular disease. The medical community needs to stop neglecting this community of patients because it is a rapidly growing group."

Sudden cardiac death is unexpected natural death from a cardiac cause within a short time period, generally less than an hour from the onset of symptoms in a person without prior condition that would appear fatal. In most cases, sudden cardiac death occurs because of ventricular arrhythmias
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Contact: Megan McCann
memccann@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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