Sudden cardiac death caused by myocarditis in persons aged 1–49 years: a nationwide study of 14 294 deaths in Denmark

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  • Thomas Hadberg Lynge, Rigshospitalet
  • ,
  • Trine Skov Nielsen
  • Bo Gregers Winkel, Rigshospitalet
  • ,
  • Jacob Tfelt-Hansen, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Jytte Banner, University of Copenhagen

Myocarditis is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the young. However, information on nationwide burden of SCD caused by myocarditis (SCD-myocarditis) is sparse. For this study all deaths among persons in Denmark aged 1–35 years in 2000–2009 and 36–49 years in 2007–2009 (27.1 million person-years) were included. Autopsy reports, death certificates, discharge summaries, and nationwide registries were used to identify all cases of SCD-myocarditis. In the 10-year study period, there were 14 294 deaths, of which we identified 1 363 (10%) SCD. Among autopsied SCD (n = 753, 55%), cause of death was myocarditis in 42 (6%) cases corresponding to an SCD-myocarditis incidence of 0.16 (95%CI: 0.11–0.21) per 100 000 person-years. Males had significantly higher incidence rates of SCD-myocarditis compared to females with an incidence rate ratio of 2.2 (95%CI: 1.1–4.1). Myocarditis was not registered as cause of death in any of the non-autopsied SCD (n = 610, 45%). In conclusion, after nationwide unselected inclusion of 14 294 deaths, we found that 6% of all autopsied SCD was caused by myocarditis. No cases of SCD-myocarditis were reported in the non-autopsied SCD, which could reflect underdiagnosing of myocarditis in non-autopsied SCD. Furthermore, our data suggest a female protection towards SCD-myocarditis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalForensic Sciences Research
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • autopsy, children, epidemiology, Forensic sciences, gender, myocarditis, sudden cardiac death, young adults

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