-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Higher levels of the hormone
estrogen are associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac
death in men and women, a new study suggests.
Sudden cardiac death can occur when the heart suddenly and
unexpectedly stops beating (sudden cardiac arrest). Each year in
the United States, more than 350,000 people die of sudden cardiac
Researchers examined data from people in Portland, Ore., who
suffered sudden cardiac death or had coronary artery disease. Tests
of plasma taken at the time of death or during a doctor's visit
indicated that both groups had a similar proportion of common heart
risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and
But levels of testosterone were much lower among men and
slightly higher among women in the sudden cardiac death group
compared to those with coronary artery disease, according to the
study, which is scheduled for presentation Friday at the annual
meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society in Denver.
The researchers also found that estrogen levels were much higher
and the testosterone-to-estrogen ratio was lower in both men and
women who suffered sudden cardiac death. This did not, however,
prove a cause-and-effect link between higher estrogen levels and
sudden cardiac death.
The findings could help identify patients at risk for sudden
cardiac arrest and death, Dr. Sumeet Chugh, associate director for
genomic cardiology and director of the Heart Rhythm Center at the
Cedars Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, said in a Heart Rhythm
Society news release.
Studies presented at meetings are considered preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
sudden cardiac arrest.
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