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Sudden Cardiac Arrest May Have Early Warning Signs

Study of men highlights importance of seeking medical help for chest pain, shortness of breath

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Part of the challenge is that a variety of problems may trigger sudden cardiac arrest. Depending on genetic, anatomical and other factors, people may respond differently.

"We are teasing out a million different variables at this point," Chugh said. "The nature of heart disease isn't so different from cancer. There's a genetic component ... and then there are clinical factors and some lifestyle factors."

The study results do not apply to women, and more research is needed, Chugh said. "Women are different in so many ways," he said.

The research supports current recommendations for anyone having these kinds of symptoms -- especially chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness -- to seek medical attention, UCLA's Fonarow said. "Many people don't follow these recommendations and they delay," he said. "Their health may really be at stake."

Chugh agreed. "We have not educated men in middle age very much, and we need to do that," he said.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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