The most common cause of Sudden cardiac death in adults is ventricular fibrillation (v-fib), brought on by acute coronary ischemia. Cases have shown that the most common finding at postmortem examination of SCD is chronic high-grade stenosis of at least one segment of a major coronary artery, the arteries that supply the heart muscle with its blood supply. Left ventricular hypertrophy is thought to be the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in the adult population. This is most commonly the result of longstanding high blood pressure which has caused secondary damage to the wall of the main pumping chamber of the heart, the left ventricle.
The mechanism of death in the majority of patients dying of Sudden cardiac death is ventricular fibrillation. Structural changes in the diseased heart as a result of inherited factors (mutations in ion-channel coding genes for example) cannot explain the suddenness of SCD. Also, Sudden cardiac death could be the consequence of electric-mechanical disjunction and bradyarrhythmias.
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