Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Atherosclerosis increases with age, but also many victims of SCD in young and middle-aged population have CAD at autopsy. The purpose of this study was to determine the characteristics and autopsy findings of SCD due to CAD among victims of SCD under the age of 50. Fingesture is a population-based study consisting of consecutive series of victims of autopsy verified SCD in Northern Finland between the years 1998-2017 (n=5,869). Histological examinations were part of all autopsies and a toxicology investigation was performed if needed. Analyses included information accumulated from death certificates, medical records, autopsy data, standardized questionnaire to the closest family members of the victims of SCD and police reports of the conditions of the death. Overall, 10.4% of all SCDs occurred among victims under the age of 50 years (610 victims). Most common underlying cause of SCD among these younger SCD victims was CAD (43.6%). The prevalence of CAD as the cause of SCD became more common in young SCD victims after the age of 35 years. The mean age of ischemic SCD victims was 44±5 years and most were men (89.5%). Most victims (90.2%) had no clinical diagnosis of CAD, however 33.8% had an autopsy evidence of silent myocardial infarction. SCD occurred during physical activity in 24.1%. Three-vessel disease was detected in 44.4% of the study victims. Cardiac hypertrophy (58.3%) and myocardial fibrosis (82.6%) were also common. At least one cardiovascular risk factor was present in 64.7% of SCD victims. In conclusion, most SCDs among victims < 50 years of age are due to CAD.
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