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Molecular genetic screening after non-ischaemic sudden cardiac arrest and no overt cardiomyopathy in real life: A major tool for the aetiological diagnostic work-up.

BACKGROUND: With the development of advanced sequencing techniques, genetic testing has emerged as a valuable tool for the work-up of non-ischaemic sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

AIMS: To evaluate the effectiveness of genetic testing in patients with unexplained SCA, according to clinical phenotype.

METHODS: All patients who underwent molecular genetic testing for non-ischaemic SCA with no left ventricular cardiomyopathy between 2012 and 2021 in two French university hospitals were included.

RESULTS: Of 66 patients (mean age 36.7±11.9years, 54.5% men), 21 (31.8%; 95% confidence interval 22.4-45.3%) carried a genetic variant: eight (12.1%) had a pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P/LP) variant and 13 (19.7%) had a variant of uncertain significance (VUS). Among 37 patients (56.1%) with no phenotypic clues, genetic testing identified a P/LP variant in five (13.5%), mainly in RYR2 (n=3) and SCN5A (n=2), and a VUS in nine (24.3%). None of the nine patients with phenotypic evidence of channelopathies had P/LP variants, but two had VUS in RYR2 and NKX2.5. Among the 20 patients with suspected arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, three P/LP variants (15.0%) and two VUS (10.0%) were found in DSC2, PKP2, SCN5A and DSG2, TRPM4, respectively. Genetic testing was performed sooner after cardiac arrest (P<0.001) and results were obtained more rapidly (P=0.02) after versus before 2016.

CONCLUSION: This study highlights the utility of molecular genetic testing with a genetic variant of interest identified in one-third of patients with unexplained SCA. Genetic testing was beneficial even in patients without phenotypic clues, with one-fourth of patients carrying a P/LP variant that could have direct implications.

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