I've been having a back-and-forth conversation with the amazing and sweet Len Lambert--check out her blog Conversations with Self if you have a moment.
She has a character that sadly, must die in during her sleep. A young person, maybe in her thirties.
What could cause something like this?
First, we have to consider the character. She is very young, so the chance that she might have sudden cardiac death (SCD) due to atherosclerotic heart disease would be less likely (this is the #1 cause of sudden death in the world--95% of the time)
What else could cause SCD at her age? I came up with a few possibilities, but each is really interesting, so today I'm going to tackle Brugada Syndrome.
This is a rare condition that affects less than 0.4% of the U.S. population, but as high as 1% in some Asian populations. Some may have unexplained episodes of fainting (syncope), but most have no symptoms at all. People have a peculiar abnormality seen on an EKG, or ECG, but most people don't have them done routinely, so it would be easily missed. Men have it far more often than in women.
People with Brugada syndome often suffer SCD during sleep via a fatal arrhythmia, usually ventricular fibrillation. It's the #1 cause of SCD in Southeast Asian men, where it's called Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndome, or SUNDS. Men often die in their sleep after a carb-heavy meal, which makes their condition more susceptible to arrhythmia.
SCD in Brugada Syndrome can also be provoked by other factors: local anesthesia, tricyclic antidepressants, lithium, fevers, low potassium levels (this is linked to a high carbohydrate meals, see above in SUNDS), hi potassium or calcium levels, and cocaine use.
I'm sure I've seen Brugada syndrome mentioned in some crime shows or movies but I can't remember which ones.
Have you ever heard of Brugada Syndrome?