YOUR HEALTH: SADS; What you need to know about Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

Every hour a person under the age of 18 dies from an unexpected heart problem.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 4:17 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 7:22 AM CDT
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Each year, 356 thousand Americans die suddenly, without warning, from cardiac arrhythmias. And it’s not always the elderly or unhealthy. Sometimes, we lose a young person. In fact, every hour a person under the age of 18 dies from an unexpected heart problem. As Ivanhoe explains, knowing your risk factor is the first step to saving your life or the life of someone you love.

Tia and Logan Hansen make the most of every moment with their kids Cove, Lydia, and little Skylar.

Tia says, “I just feel grateful that I’ve lived a normal life and so grateful that my kids are just these crazy, fun, awesome kids.”

Grateful they are healthy even though all three tested positive for Long QT Syndrome, a type of SADS —or Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome, a genetic disorder that Tia was diagnosed with when she was just eleven.

Tia explains, “At first, it was, it was a really big deal. It was a very scary.”

Her aunt was the first to find out she had it, followed by her dad, and two of her siblings. That’s not unusual. If someone in your family has SADS, their children have a 50 percent chance of also having it.

Alice Lara runs the SADS foundation. Her mission—to get the word out.

Lara says, “Letting people know there’s something to check out as family history is number one.”

Susan Etheridge, MD, Pediatric Cardiology Electrophysiology at the University of Utah explains, “The important thing is recognition and the warning signs that can cause trouble.”

The main symptoms—fainting, seizures, or shortness of breath during exercise, being startled by doorbells, alarm clocks or telephones. University of Utah Pediatric Electrophysiologist Susan Etheridge says to watch out for a history of unexpected, or unexplained sudden death in your family before the age of 40.

Doctor Etheridge says, “They never put two and two together and know that that single car accident or that drowning was in fact a SADS condition.”

SADS is treatable, usually with just a daily dose of beta blockers.

Tia says, “I’ve lived my whole life being perfectly healthy, asymptomatic. The other kids have been perfectly wild kids. You wouldn’t ever guess that they’re on beta blockers.”

The most important thing, they know they have it. They can control it and live normal, healthy lives.

The SADS Foundation is also working on procedures that would have every baby born in the US tested for SADS.

Although it’s not curable right now, the current therapies are good and there’s a lot of research moving forward to advance the treatment. To find out about clinical trials being done right now, log on to

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