Psychological adaptation to molecular autopsy findings following sudden cardiac death in the young

Psychological adaptation to molecular autopsy findings following sudden cardiac death in the young.

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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Official URL:
Journal or Publication Title: Genetics in Medicine
Volume: 21
Number: 6
Page Range: pp. 1452-1456
Date: 2019
Divisions: Cardio Genomics
Molecular Cardiology
Depositing User: General Admin
Identification Number: 10.1038/s41436-018-0338-4
ISSN: 1098-3600
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2020 22:52

Purpose: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the young is a devastating event occurring in otherwise healthy individuals. Postmortem genetic testing (molecular autopsy) may help identify a cause, though there is potential for uncertainty. We report psychological adaptation to molecular autopsy findings amongst family members after a young SCD.

Methods: First-degree relatives who had experienced a SCD of a young relative and attended a specialized cardiac genetic clinic were invited to complete a cross-sectional, self-report survey comprising a number of validated scales. Clinical, genetic, and family history information was collected from the medical record.

Results: Thirty-three individuals from 27 families (response rate 48%) completed a survey (mean age 49 ± 12 years, 49% were mothers of the decedent). Eleven (36%) reported poor adaptation to genetic information, and compared with those with good adaptation, they were more likely to have worse posttraumatic stress symptoms (p = 0.0004) and depression (p = 0.01). Perceived support was lower in those reporting poor adaptation, including social support (p < 0.0001) and perceived support from significant others (p = 0.03), family members (p = 0.001), and friends (p = 0.0002).

Conclusion: Adaptation to molecular autopsy findings may be difficult for some relatives following a young SCD. Careful pretest genetic counseling and integration of psychological support is needed.

Keywords: genetic testing; molecular autopsy; psychological adaptation; sudden cardiac death.

Bates, Kezia
Sweeting, Joanna
Yeates, Laura
McDonald, Kristie
Semsarian, Christopher
Ingles, Jodie
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2020 22:52

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