Sudden cardiac death epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sara Zand, M.D.[2] Edzel Lorraine Co, DMD, MD[3]


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) comprises almost 50% of all mortality due to cardiovascular problems [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. Incidence of SCD increases proportionally with age [7] [8] [9] . Men are more commonly affected with sudden cardiac death than women in all age groups.[6] [10] [11] [12] Racial backgrounds have large effects [13] [14].

Epidemiology and demographics

  • The prevalence of sudden cardiac death is approximately 1.40 per 100,000 individuals in women to 6.68 per 100.000 individuals in men worldwide.[15]
  • In 2015, the incidence of adult in-hospital cardiac arrests was estimated to be 970 cases per 100,000 individuals in the United States.[16]
  • In some middle-aged males, sports is related to SCD which occurs more frequently in a recreational setting than a competition [17] [18]. In these instances, coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common cause [19] [20][21].


  • There is a low incidence of SCD in infants and children which is approximately 1 per 100,000 person-years.
  • The incidence of SCD in middle-aged people (50 to 60 years old) is around 50 per 1000,000 person-years.
  • Among people in their eight decade of life, incidence of SCD approximates about 200 per 100,000 person-years [2].




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  2. 2.0 2.1 Stecker EC, Reinier K, Marijon E, Narayanan K, Teodorescu C, Uy-Evanado A; et al. (2014). "Public health burden of sudden cardiac death in the United States". Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 7 (2): 212–7. doi:10.1161/CIRCEP.113.001034. PMC 4041478. PMID 24610738.
  3. Chen LY, Sotoodehnia N, Bůžková P, Lopez FL, Yee LM, Heckbert SR; et al. (2013). "Atrial fibrillation and the risk of sudden cardiac death: the atherosclerosis risk in communities study and cardiovascular health study". JAMA Intern Med. 173 (1): 29–35. doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.744. PMC 3578214. PMID 23404043.
  4. Marijon E, Uy-Evanado A, Dumas F, Karam N, Reinier K, Teodorescu C; et al. (2016). "Warning Symptoms Are Associated With Survival From Sudden Cardiac Arrest". Ann Intern Med. 164 (1): 23–9. doi:10.7326/M14-2342. PMC 5624713. PMID 26720493.
  5. Glinge C, Jabbari R, Risgaard B, Lynge TH, Engstrøm T, Albert CM; et al. (2015). "Symptoms Before Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome: A Nationwide Study Among the Young in Denmark". J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 26 (7): 761–7. doi:10.1111/jce.12674. PMID 25807988.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ågesen FN, Lynge TH, Blanche P, Banner J, Prescott E, Jabbari R; et al. (2021). "Temporal trends and sex differences in sudden cardiac death in the Copenhagen City Heart Study". Heart. 107 (16): 1303–1309. doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2020-318881. PMID 34021040 Check |pmid= value (help).
  7. Winkel BG, Holst AG, Theilade J, Kristensen IB, Thomsen JL, Ottesen GL; et al. (2011). "Nationwide study of sudden cardiac death in persons aged 1-35 years". Eur Heart J. 32 (8): 983–90. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehq428. PMID 21131293.
  8. Pilmer CM, Kirsh JA, Hildebrandt D, Krahn AD, Gow RM (2014). "Sudden cardiac death in children and adolescents between 1 and 19 years of age". Heart Rhythm. 11 (2): 239–45. doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2013.11.006. PMID 24239636.
  9. Risgaard B, Winkel BG, Jabbari R, Behr ER, Ingemann-Hansen O, Thomsen JL; et al. (2014). "Burden of sudden cardiac death in persons aged 1 to 49 years: nationwide study in Denmark". Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 7 (2): 205–11. doi:10.1161/CIRCEP.113.001421. PMID 24604905.
  10. Deo R, Albert CM (2012). "Epidemiology and genetics of sudden cardiac death". Circulation. 125 (4): 620–37. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.023838. PMC 3399522. PMID 22294707.
  11. Gerber Y, Jacobsen SJ, Frye RL, Weston SA, Killian JM, Roger VL (2006). "Secular trends in deaths from cardiovascular diseases: a 25-year community study". Circulation. 113 (19): 2285–92. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.590463. PMID 16682616.
  12. Krahn AD, Connolly SJ, Roberts RS, Gent M, ATMA Investigators (2004). "Diminishing proportional risk of sudden death with advancing age: implications for prevention of sudden death". Am Heart J. 147 (5): 837–40. doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2003.12.017. PMID 15131539.
  13. Becker LB, Han BH, Meyer PM, Wright FA, Rhodes KV, Smith DW; et al. (1993). "Racial differences in the incidence of cardiac arrest and subsequent survival. The CPR Chicago Project". N Engl J Med. 329 (9): 600–6. doi:10.1056/NEJM199308263290902. PMID 8341333.
  14. Zhao D, Post WS, Blasco-Colmenares E, Cheng A, Zhang Y, Deo R; et al. (2019). "Racial Differences in Sudden Cardiac Death". Circulation. 139 (14): 1688–1697. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.036553. PMC 6443438. PMID 30712378.
  15. Priori, Silvia G.; Blomström-Lundqvist, Carina; Mazzanti, Andrea; Blom, Nico; Borggrefe, Martin; Camm, John; Elliott, Perry Mark; Fitzsimons, Donna; Hatala, Robert; Hindricks, Gerhard; Kirchhof, Paulus; Kjeldsen, Keld; Kuck, Karl-Heinz; Hernandez-Madrid, Antonio; Nikolaou, Nikolaos; Norekvål, Tone M.; Spaulding, Christian; Van Veldhuisen, Dirk J. (2015). "2015 ESC Guidelines for the management of patients with ventricular arrhythmias and the prevention of sudden cardiac death". European Heart Journal. 36 (41): 2793–2867. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehv316. ISSN 0195-668X.
  16. Holmberg, Mathias J.; Ross, Catherine E.; Fitzmaurice, Garrett M.; Chan, Paul S.; Duval-Arnould, Jordan; Grossestreuer, Anne V.; Yankama, Tuyen; Donnino, Michael W.; Andersen, Lars W.; Chan, Paul; Grossestreuer, Anne V.; Moskowitz, Ari; Edelson, Dana; Ornato, Joseph; Berg, Katherine; Peberdy, Mary Ann; Churpek, Matthew; Kurz, Michael; Starks, Monique Anderson; Girotra, Saket; Perman, Sarah; Goldberger, Zachary; Guerguerian, Anne-Marie; Atkins, Dianne; Foglia, Elizabeth; Fink, Ericka; Lasa, Javier J.; Roberts, Joan; Bembea, Melanie; Gaies, Michael; Kleinman, Monica; Gupta, Punkaj; Sutton, Robert; Sawyer, Taylor (2019). "Annual Incidence of Adult and Pediatric In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in the United States". Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 12 (7). doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005580. ISSN 1941-7713.
  17. Marijon E, Tafflet M, Celermajer DS, Dumas F, Perier MC, Mustafic H; et al. (2011). "Sports-related sudden death in the general population". Circulation. 124 (6): 672–81. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.008979. PMID 21788587.
  18. Heidbuchel H, Willems R, Jordaens L, Olshansky B, Carre F, Lozano IF; et al. (2019). "Intensive recreational athletes in the prospective multinational ICD Sports Safety Registry: Results from the European cohort". Eur J Prev Cardiol. 26 (7): 764–775. doi:10.1177/2047487319834852. PMID 30813818.
  19. Risgaard B, Winkel BG, Jabbari R, Glinge C, Ingemann-Hansen O, Thomsen JL; et al. (2014). "Sports-related sudden cardiac death in a competitive and a noncompetitive athlete population aged 12 to 49 years: data from an unselected nationwide study in Denmark". Heart Rhythm. 11 (10): 1673–81. doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2014.05.026. PMID 24861446.
  20. Marijon E, Bougouin W, Périer MC, Celermajer DS, Jouven X (2013). "Incidence of sports-related sudden death in France by specific sports and sex". JAMA. 310 (6): 642–3. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.8711. PMID 23942684.
  21. Marijon E, Uy-Evanado A, Reinier K, Teodorescu C, Narayanan K, Jouven X; et al. (2015). "Sudden cardiac arrest during sports activity in middle age". Circulation. 131 (16): 1384–91. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.011988. PMC 4406826. PMID 25847988.
  22. Eckart, Robert E.; Shry, Eric A.; Burke, Allen P.; McNear, Jennifer A.; Appel, David A.; Castillo-Rojas, Laudino M.; Avedissian, Lena; Pearse, Lisa A.; Potter, Robert N.; Tremaine, Ladd; Gentlesk, Philip J.; Huffer, Linda; Reich, Stephen S.; Stevenson, William G. (2011). "Sudden Death in Young Adults". Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 58 (12): 1254–1261. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2011.01.049. ISSN 0735-1097.
  23. Becker, Lance B.; Han, Ben H.; Meyer, Peter M.; Wright, Fred A.; Rhodes, Karin V.; Smith, David W.; Barrett, John (1993). "Racial Differences in the Incidence of Cardiac Arrest and Subsequent Survival". New England Journal of Medicine. 329 (9): 600–606. doi:10.1056/NEJM199308263290902. ISSN 0028-4793.

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