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Epidemiology:
doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31824d5d82
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Major Life Events as Potential Triggers of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Wicks, April F.a; Lumley, Thomasb; Lemaitre, Rozenn N.c; Sotoodehnia, Nonac; Rea, Thomas D.c; McKnight, Barbarad; Strogatz, David S.e; Bovbjerg, Viktor E.f; Siscovick, David S.a,c

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Abstract

Background: We investigated the risk of sudden cardiac arrest in association with the recent loss of, or separation from, a family member or friend.

Methods: Our case-crossover study included 490 apparently healthy married residents of King County, Washington, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest between 1988 and 2005. We compared exposure to spouse-reported family/friend events occurring ≤1 month before sudden cardiac arrest with events occurring in the previous 5 months. We evaluated potential effect modification by habitual vigorous physical activity.

Results: Recent family/friend events were associated with a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest (odds ratio [OR] = 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–2.4). ORs for cases with and without habitual vigorous physical activity were 1.1 (0.6–2.2) and 2.0 (1.2–3.1), respectively (interaction P = 0.02).

Conclusions: These results suggest family/friend events may trigger sudden cardiac arrest and raise the hypothesis that habitual vigorous physical activity may lower susceptibility to these potential triggers.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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