Sudden Unexpected Death (SUDS)
Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study (SUDS) is a research study conducted jointly by Oregon Health & Science University and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), focusing on Oregon residents that die unexpectedly for unknown reasons.
Sudden death is generally defined as a death that occurs within one hour of the patient having symptoms, such as chest pain or difficult breathing. In the majority of people, this condition occurs due to an abnormality of the heart rhythm, known as arrhythmia.
The heart is a muscular pump run by electrical impulses that originate within the heart. Normally, these impulses are regular and occur at a rate of 60-100 beats per minute. An arrhythmia occurs when the electrical system becomes disrupted or diseased, and the heart starts beating either too fast or too slow. In severe arrhythmias, the heart may not be able to pump adequate blood to the body, which can result in sudden death.
In the United States 180,000-400,000 people die annually from sudden death. Of these, up to 15 percent of deaths remain unexplained, despite current advancement in medical knowledge. The purpose of this study is to identify the cause of these unexplained sudden deaths. By participating in this study, subjects may help their family members as well as other families that may be affected by heart disease. This information will be especially helpful in determining whether there are novel factors that may predispose people to sudden death. It may also provide information about the risk of future development of sudden death in a subject's family or future offspring.
Informed consent will be requested to obtain a small sample of blood or tissue from the deceased subject or survivor. Family members or survivors will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding family health history.
Funding for Oregon SUDS has been provided by United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Heart Association, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Our goal is prevention of heart rhythm disorders in Oregonians, and the major heart rhythm disorder is sudden cardiac arrest. The survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest victims is far worse than the worst forms of cancer, yet no other condition is more amenable to prevention with communitywide efforts.
In our recent study in Multnomah county we found that the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest, one of the nation's most lethal public health problems, was 30 percent to 80 percent higher in the lowest socioeconomic-status neighborhoods than in the high-status areas in that community during the two-year period evaluated. The disparity was most acute for those younger than 65.
The Oregon Heart Rhythm Research Laboratory
We are working to enhance the understanding of mechanisms of sudden cardiac arrest in the community. Despite current advances, the rate of successful resuscitation from sudden cardiac arrest remains low. Our group is searching for novel determinants of this condition that will facilitate the identification of subjects at risk, with the overall goal of improving prevention of sudden cardiac arrest.
The Heart Rhythm Research Laboratory is involved in a variety of ongoing studies at OHSU as well as several national and international collaborative efforts.