Now, a simple blood test can help find out if you are facing the risk of a sudden cardiac death.
"This is the first test of its kind; never before have clinicians been able to accurately assess a patient's risk of sudden cardiac death by performing a blood test," said Samuel C Dudley, chief of cardiology at Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) at Rhode Island.
Researchers at CVI, the Miriam and Newport hospitals said the blood test can help doctors come up with a solution quickly and enable physicians to more quickly and correctly.
When a symptom of cardiac death is observed, the first step taken by doctors in the US is use an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) for the patient. In order to be safe, it has been noticed that there is widespread overuse of ICDs throughout the US and other countries.
But now the new test can check the overuse of the implant which can be used only in the most serious cases of sudden cardiac death.
At present, measurement of the fraction of blood ejected from the heart in any one heartbeat is used in calculating the risk.
The blood test is a pilot project and further large-scale trials will begin this fall under the guidance of Dudley and other researchers at CVI.
Loss of heart function or sudden cardiac arrest can lead to sudden cardiac death. It is the most common cause of natural death in the US. Sudden cardiac death causes approximately 325,000 deaths in the US annually.