Sudden Death Screening
What is Sudden Cardiac Death?
Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) is an unexpected death that occurs within one hour of the onset of symptoms, which results from heart disease whose presence is known or unknown. Most often, SCD is the result of ventricular arrhythmias – irregularities in the beating of the lower chambers of the heart – that cause cardiac arrest.
The most common cause of cardiac arrest in adults is ventricular fibrillation – an arrhythmia in which the ventricles of the heart fall into a rapid chaotic pattern of contraction that causes the heart to stop beating. If a patient collapses because of ventricular fibrillation, it is extremely important to restore normal circulation within minutes, a process called defibrillation. Because patients might not always have immediate access to emergency care and defibrillation, the best treatment option for patients at risk is preventative therapy.
Sudden Cardiac Death should be distinguished from a heart attack. A heart attack refers to a sudden blockage in a coronary artery (an artery that supplies blood to the heart), which causes the death of heart muscle. A heart attack can cause dangerous rhythm abnormalities, which can lead to sudden death. This can happen within minutes or hours of a heart attack. Sudden death can also occur in patients who have previously had heart attacks, even if the patient is not actively having a heart attack.
Screening and Diagnosis of Sudden Death Syndrome
New diagnostic technology can predict those at risk for life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias than can cause SCD. Patients with prior heart attacks resulting in reduced function of the left ventricle and those with congestive heart failure may be at risk of SCD. Diagnostic tests that predict SCD include non-invasive tests like Microvolt T-wave Alternans (MTWA) and some invasive procedures such as Electrophysiologic Studies.
Manhattan Cardiology’s mission is to reduce the impact of Sudden Cardiac Syndrome by providing non-invasive technologies to identify individuals at risk of life-threatening arrhythmias. Our innovative diagnostic test is used to measure Microvolt T-Wave Alternans (MTWA), a subtle beat-to-beat fluctuation in the T-wave segment of the ECG. Clinical studies show that patients with a positive MTWA test are at higher risk for sudden cardiac arrest, while those who have a negative test are at minimal risk.
Several insurance companies do not reimburse for the MTWA, and there is an out-of-pocket expense for those patients. We will verify screening benefits with your insurance carrier prior to scheduling to confirm coverage and any out-of-pocket expense.