A research has identified a genetic variation that may double the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, a condition that gives little warning and is fatal in about 95 percent of cases.
The discovery came from a genome-wide association study, which examines the entire set of human genes to detect possible links between genetic variations and specific conditions or diseases.
Senior author Sumeet S. Chugh, MD, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and a specialist in cardiac electrophysiology, along with researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Harvard University, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Finland, Canada and the Netherlands, compared the genetic makeup of 4,402 subjects who had experienced sudden cardiac arrest to the DNA of 30,000 control subjects who had no history of the disorder.
Based on a comparison of the two groups, a genetic variation in the BAZ2B gene was found to be associated with a significantly increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
"If you have this genetic variation in your DNA, it appears that you may have a two-fold higher likelihood of sudden cardiac arrest," said Chugh.
The researchers also studied the link between other genetic variations that account for EKG abnormalities and were able to pinpoint several that can also be used for improving the prediction of sudden cardiac arrest in the community.
The study appears in PLoS Genetics.