The sudden cardiac death (SCD) of a young person is a devastating event often attributed to underlying genetic heart disease.1 In the absence of a prior diagnosis or symptoms, a grieving family must come to terms with the uncertainty about the cause of death and ongoing genetic risk to the family. Approximately 7% of a bereaved population will develop prolonged grief (PG) for which some risk factors include female sex and sudden unexpected death. Although family members may be particularly vulnerable to PG, psychological assessment is rarely undertaken. We sought to assess psychological functioning, including PG and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms, and to identify factors that correlate with adverse outcomes after the SCD of a young relative.
Ingles J, Spinks C, Yeates L, McGeechan K, Kasparian N, Semsarian C. Posttraumatic Stress and Prolonged Grief After the Sudden Cardiac Death of a Young Relative. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(3):402-405. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7808