Defib For Life was founded by highly experienced Victorian MICA Paramedic Andrew White, following the deaths of several young athletes and officials at sporting venues in Victoria, in particular Stephen Buckman, a 19 year old player who collapsed and died from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) while attending training at Rupertswood Football Club in May 2010.
That bit you have heard before. But, it was discovered that Stephen had a genetic condition. It was also discovered due to his death that his sister has the same condition. Stephen died, but his sister is alive because she had the chance to be fitted with an internal defibrillator.
There are a number of heart conditions that can cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest. One group is collectively known as genetic heart diseases. These often affect young people and are caused by an alteration in a gene that is present in the person at birth. Genetic heart diseases include structural heart conditions (e.g. hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, familial dilated cardiomyopathy) and rhythm disorders of the heart (e.g. long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome). In most of these cases, the first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) of the person with disease have a one in two risk of having the same condition. So it is important that a cardiologist checks all first-degree relatives.
How do you know if you have an underlying heart condition?
A few facts might help shape your decision to ask the questions when next at your doctor, or make an appointment specifically to get checked out.