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Department of Engineering

Breakthrough on sudden cardiac death

Breakthrough on sudden cardiac death

A lecture given recently by Dr Richard Saumarez at the European Working Party on Arrhythmias was described by the President as "a breakthrough that opens a window on sudden cardiac death".

He showed that there is an abnormality in the heart muscle, which occurs in every 'sudden death' patient.

Sudden death is caused by ventricular fibrillation and every patient with ventricular fibrillation exhibits the same basic effect (slowed conduction) although the mechanism is different in different diseases. This effect was predicted theoretically from the basic cell biology of diseases that cause sudden death.

This work involves collaboration between CUED and Papworth, in what is a strengthening programme of biomedical engineering of Cardiac arrhythmias that includes contributions from the Departments of Biochemistry and Physiology.