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20% of Unexplained Sudden Cardiac Deaths Maybe From Bad Genes

It appears that approximately 20% of unexplained sudden cardiac deaths actually have a straightforward explanation – bad genes.  

You can read more about the findings of a University of Maryland Medical School researcher by clicking here and here.  

But, how do you find out if you have bad genes before becoming a statistic?  

This Topic Is Very Personal For Me

Both my brother and I were almost mortality statistics!

In May 2021, I underwent 14 1/2 hours of open-heart surgery to fix inherited cardiac defects that were about to kill me.  

While I knew about my cardiac problems for more than 30 years (I started having symptoms decades ago), my brother had the same inherited cardiac disease and almost died in 2018.  He discovered the problem after several strokes that landed him in the ICU (strokes that cause clots to form in the brain are a common side effect of certain types of cardiac disease).  

Our problems were related to physical cardiac deformities of our aortic valve and, in my case, one cardiac artery.  Either of these conditions, if left undiagnosed and treated, would likely have caused sudden cardiac death (assuming we didn’t first die from a stroke).  

Needless to say, everyone in my family has now been tested and knows if they have inherited problems.  

Why DNA Testing?

DNA testing would have identified the problem years ago if it had been available.

While I was aware that I had cardiac problems for more than 30 years, my brother had no idea he was sick.  His problems were “sub-clinical,” meaning they were not diagnosed through traditional physicals and cardiac checkups. 

If he had DNA screening, he would have known about his condition before having his first stroke. 

Let Our Firm Help You

Our firm can arrange for cardiac DNA screening to help you avoid being a mortality statistic.

We can perform post-mortem (after death) DNA screening to identify many types of inherited cardiac disease.  The cost of this testing is relatively low (typically less than $500) and has the potential to save the lives of the children and grandchildren of anyone who has died.  

We can also refer you to a medical doctor who can help you with DNA testing (before death).  

Who Should Have DNA Screening?

In my opinion, everyone (and everyone who has died).  

Don’t be fooled if genetic problems do not show up in every generation. 

In my case, the cardiac defects that almost killed me and my brother skipped a generation, i.e., neither of my parents had, or died of, cardiac disease. 

However, both my grandfathers died from cardiac diseases, as did one of my grandmothers.  So, while inherited cardiac problems skipped our parents, the DNA defects were passed on to my brother and me.  

The lesson to be learned is, regardless of the cause of death of your loved one, you should still test their DNA to see what inherited markers they may have passed on to future generations.  

What Does DNA Screening Include?

DNA screening can include screening for cancer and many other inherited diseases.

There is a wide range of panels we can run to identify many inherited diseases.  

We can also arrange for DNA storage so that as more tests become available, you can retest the DNA of your loved one who may have died years before

DNA preservation and storage are new technologies that are inexpensive and preserve DNA for future testing.  

Stored DNA has no expiration date and can be tested and retested in the future as frequently as you may require. 

Preserved DNA is stored in a small vial that you keep in a safe place in your home.  There are no special handling requirements.  

We will perform DNA testing on any deceased individual in South Florida regardless of which funeral home your family retains

We feel so strongly about the benefits of post-mortem DNA testing, screening, and preservation, that we offer our services to everyone in South Florida, regardless of which firm you retain for final arrangements.  So, even if you don’t retain our firm for your funeral, we still make our services available to everyone.    

As I wrote above, this is personal for me.  Please allow our firm to help you stay alive and live a long and healthy life.

Mark Sunshine

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