After the sudden and unexplained death of his 19 year old sister, Patrick is left grieving, while struggling to understand how a young person could go to sleep and never wake up. Every year over 600 young and seemingly healthy people die suddenly and unexpectedly from a Sudden Cardiac Death. For Patrick’s sister Lauren, her death was registered as SADS, or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, a cause of cardiac death even the experts don’t completely understand.
Patrick finds himself unable to talk to his friends or family, but he needs answers. What could have been done to prevent Lauren’s death and is there a way to stop other young people dying this way?
He and his family undergo cardiac tests in hope of understanding what happened to Lauren and Patrick meets other young people who have lost a sibling to SADS.
Patrick discovers that Sudden Cardiac Death is the leading cause of death in young athletes during exercise. He visits Tonbridge Angels Football Club in Kent who lost three of their players to Sudden Death and instigated a screening programme as a result.
Footballer Fabrice Muamba famously survived SADS after collapsing half way through a match a Tottenham stadium. He and Patrick retrace Fabrice’s steps, as Fabrice tells Patrick how it felt when his heart stopped for 78 minutes.
Patrick meets leading cardiac-pathologist, Professor Mary Sheppard, who believes SADS deaths are under-reported. From the information gathered through Professor Sheppard’s research, she understands Sudden Cardiac Death to be the third biggest killer of young people, after road traffic accidents and suicide.
Sudden Death: My Sister’s Secret Killer airs Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 at 22:45 on BBC One.