More than 20 different conditions have been identified as causes of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in young people – these conditions mainly come under the following groups:
- Cardiomyopathies – are abnormalities of the heart muscle and are usually inherited.
- Ion Channelopathies – are hereditary disorders that affect the electrical functioning of the heart
- Congenital Heart Disease – describes a group of conditions that include structural abnormalities which have been present since birth.
- Myocarditis – is the term used to describe inflammation of the heart muscle due to viral illness, exposure to drugs or as a result of a complication of other medical conditions.
- Connective Tissue Disease – are inherited conditions that affect the structures that give support, strength and elasticity to the walls of the heart and connecting blood vessels.
- Conduction Disease – refers to abnormalities that affect the conductivity of electrical impulses within the heart.
- Others – there are a variety of other conditions including Pulmonary Embolism (clot in the lungs), Coronary Heart Disease (present in some young people and associated with smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol) and Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).