16 June 2022
Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, or SADS, has been studied for decades and is caused by genetic heart problems. But social media posts suggest, with no evidence, that SADS is related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Australian Registry Launched in 2019
As for the Daily Mail story that sparked the claims on social media, “There was some mis-reporting,” Dr Elizabeth Paratz — who was referenced in the story but wasn’t contacted for comment — told us by email.
Although both the story and the headline claimed that Australia had a “new national register” for tracking SADS, it doesn’t. That project was started in 2019 in the Australian state of Victoria.
Paratz, a cardiologist who is currently researching sudden cardiac arrest, told us that the registry began “in response to recognition that what we call ‘unascertained’ or ‘unexplained’ sudden cardiac arrest in Australia and is sometimes referred to overseas as sudden arrhythmic death syndrome … is actually the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. This has been well-recognised for many years.”
In a 2020 review of similar registries, Paratz and colleagues found that there were 15 sudden cardiac death registries around the world, including the one in Victoria.
There has been no increase in SADS since the COVID-19 vaccines became widely available in 2021, Paratz said.
Furthermore, she said, “There is no signal that any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccines, are behind SADS cases.”
Paratz also noted that, although the Daily Mail referred to SADS as “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome”, the “A” actually stands for arrhythmic, not adult.
And she cited studies about SADS going back to 2004, saying, “As you can see, unascertained sudden cardiac death / SADS has been a major public health issue recognised for decades.”
In fact, a 2007 British study looked at 56 SADS cases from the late 1990s and the first documented case of LQTS dates back to 1856 in Germany.
So, the story on which the suggestive social media posts are based is flawed, and there is no evidence of an uptick in SADS cases since the COVID-19 vaccines became available or that vaccines would cause SADS.
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