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Leading minds to meet this week to unravel the mystery of sudden cardiac arrest

The scientific mystery of why people’s hearts can stop without warning will be the focus of a three-day symposium of local and international researchers in Victoria beginning today.

Sudden cardiac arrest remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of heart health with more than 2000 Australian victims under the age of 50 each year.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. It is a medical emergency that can lead to death. With less than 10% of people surviving a cardiac arrest, there is much to be done in prevention and early treatment.

The International Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Sports Symposium to be held in Lorne, Victoria, this weekend will shine a much-needed light on the latest research into sudden cardiac arrest and showcase the human impact of the condition on the lives of survivors and the families of those who succumb to sudden cardiac death.

The Symposium has attracted experts from around the world to share their expertise on how we can prevent cardiac arrests with local health experts, interest groups and people with lived experience.

Lead organiser, Associate Professor André La Gerche, said it was an extraordinary gathering that showed the genuine interest and passion of the sector to come together to solve the mysteries of sudden cardiac arrest.

“Cardiac arrest remains one of the toughest nuts to crack in terms of why and how it happens,” A.Prof La Gerche said.

“Seemingly healthy young people including athletes can, and do, suffer sudden cardiac arrests without warning. Typical heart risk factors aimed at preventing cholesterol buildup in the artery are not so applicable to cardiac arrests. Local data shows that two-thirds of victims have no warning and no risk factors.

“By sharing the latest knowledge and human stories with each other we hope to continue to advance our understanding of what we can do to help athletes and non-athletes alike avoid a tragic and sudden cardiac death.”

The conference is being collaboratively organised by the National Centre for Sports Cardiology and the Australian Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the Alliance (AuSCAA).

About AuSCAA
AuSCAA is a strong new alliance of Australia’s leading heart experts, paramedics, CPR and victim family groups which met for the first time in June 2022 to launch united action against Sudden Cardiac Arrest, a sinister type of heart problem that kills thousands of Australians each year –suddenly and without warning.
AuSCAA members include Heart of the Nation, End UCD, the Heart Foundation, the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Centenary Institute, Garvan Institute and Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

About the National Centre for Sports Cardiology
The National Centre for Sports Cardiology (NCSC) is a centre of excellence that specialises in an athlete’s most important tool – their heart. The joint initiative combines the research and medical expertise of Baker Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital, and St Vincent’s Institute to provide the best medical care for athletes.
The NCSC utilises the specialist knowledge of leading heart specialists, Associate Professor David Prior, Dr. Maria Brosnan and Associate Professor André La Gerche, as well as state-of-the-art assessment tools.

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