KOLKATA: The 17-year-old girl, who was apparently healthy but collapsed and died in her school on Thursday, might have suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), said health experts. They said that if she did not have any known, significant pre-existing health condition, then SCA seems to be the most likely cause of her death.

Covid behind heart disease

It results in a sudden cardiac death (SCD). In the recent past, the city has seen several young adults, including those actively engaged in sports, dying in a similar way.
An SCD is caused by a swift and sudden ending of all heart functions when the breathing and blood flow stops almost instantly, causing death within seconds. Doctors said SCD in adolescents and young adults could be due to undiagnosed cardiac conditions such as genetic heart diseases.
"We need to see if there is any family history of arrhythmia or SCD. Other causes can include an overdose of energy drink, sudden dietary restrictions, especially deviation from natural diet that brings a drastic weight change," said cardiologist PK Hazra of AMRI Hospitals Dhakuria.
Doctors said most SCDs are caused by an abnormal heart rhythm known as arrhythmia, the most common and fatal being ventricular fibrillation. This is a condition of disorganised firing of impulses from the ventricles, rendering the heart unable to pump blood leading to death within minutes.
"While SCD in young patients could be due to inherited heart conditions it can also be due to congenital cardiac anomaly. But post Covid infection, there has been several cases of patients developing sudden arrhythmia, which is alarming," said professor of cardiology Saroj Mondal of IPGMER at SSKM Hospital.
Mostly SCDs happen without any warning. According to doctors, warning signs, especially in young adults, may be too feeble for them to understand that the symptoms are signs of heart issues. But doctors said episodes of palpitation, chest pain, unexplained fainting could be some warning signs and have to be examined for proper diagnosis.
"Some conditions like long QT syndrome that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats increase the risk of acute arrhythmia leading to SCD," said cardiologist Sunip Banerjee of Kolkata Heart and Lung Centre.
Experts said there has been an increasing incidence of SCDs among young adults in past one decade.

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