Because We Haven't Yet Met Our Quota of Death This Year....

Continuing a family trend I really, really hate, we’ve had another death - this time one of my nephews. Yes, it’s been about one a year for nearly a decade now. This is the one that lives (lived) in Ann Arbor, MI. Not much more detail than that at present.

I am so sorry for your loss, and the sad trend in your family. I hope that happy memories of your nephew help you and yours through the times ahead.

Hang tough. :cool:

I’m so sorry.

We got the results from my nephews autopsy.

Results: nothing.

Physically healthy young man drops dead. Sort of like SIDS, but with an adult. Would that be SADS? So… possible reason is a sudden heart arrhythmia, which can kill you but leaves no mark detectable from an autopsy.

That’s two young men dead at 30 or younger. I don’t particularly like my sister who is their mother, but I really do feel bad for her. That’s a rough, rough thing to deal with, outliving all your children.

Woah…that’s freaky!

Belated condolences on the loss of your nephew, Broomstick.

My condolences.

Did he have a habit of consuming “energy drinks” on a regular basis?

Have there been genetic tests? If the two are siblings, and both died young of unexplained causes that is very odd.

It is definitely possible. I had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which is a type of arrhythmia. It is asymptomatic for most, and can randomly become symptomatic (around age 30 for me). When symptomatic, it can be relatively benign… or simply kill the person. I was lucky and had it repaired.

I’m sorry to hear of your loss. At least no one has to feel responsibility for the death.

Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, yes, sometimes adults do die suddenly from heart arrhythmias. Sometimes it’s just a random event but it can be genetic in some cases. If this is not the first person in the family to die suddenly, you might want to see if the other people in the family have seen a doctor to look for genetic arrhythmias like Long QT syndrome.

Sorry to hear of your losses, Broomstick.

Yes, yes, as a matter of fact we HAVE had other family members die young: uncle Morry died suddenly at 27 (although with a history of rheumatic fever there’s another possible explanation for that), an uncle of him and my father also died before 30, one of my two living sisters started having heart trouble at 29 (she’s currently 60 with an implanted defibrillator), one of my other nephews (brother to the one in the OP) died at 24, also unexplained…

Sister the Doctor is heading up the investigation into possible genetic causes. She is very concerned (although it could explain her own heart problems) and worried about possible bad genes passed on to her kids. She and I talked about it and she gave me quite a bit of information which I won’t repeat here because it would take pages of text and some of it was pretty technical so I’m not sure I’d get it right if I tried to repeat it.

I’m hoping it’s not genetic - we have a different form of hereditary heart disease on my mom’s side (which, thank Og, I did NOT inherit) so we would really prefer not to have another on dad’s side. If it is genetic, I’m hoping I didn’t inherit it although as Dr. Sister pointed out, having reached my 50’s without any sign of heart disease that’s good (although with some of these syndromes the first overt symptom can simply be you drop dead). If it turns out I did have such a gene I think my flying days would be over for good as the FAA frowns on pilots with susceptibility to sudden unannounced death. That would be the only thing that would really piss me off and change how I live my life. Not so much worried about life insurance - don’t have have spouse and kids to worry about, and the sort of policy that pays enough to have me buried or burned would still be obtainable. No kids to worry about passing a genetic problem to.

Could be quite some time before we get results back regarding the genetic question. I mean, it could be just a run of bad luck, which sucks badly enough.

That’s terrible, so sorry to hear that. I hope they can determine the cause of death.

Unless the issue was genetic in which case it makes perfect sense.

I am very sorry for your losses, Broomstick.

Very sorry for your loss, and best wishes to you and family.

Well… that’s sort of the crux of the problem. Neither the autopsy nor the toxicology screens turned up anything. Cause of death is and likely will be forever “undetermined”. Not all questions have answers.

Many condolences Broomstick. Too much for any family.

As to a possible genetic link, the prevalence in your family tree of such seemingly unexplained deaths may point to an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. That means inheriting a “bad” form of the gene from only one parent would be sufficient to possibly cause the condition at question.

As it happens Familial Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome is a genetic cause of early cardiac death. Familial WPW follows an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern. Not all persons with this gene variant have problems, but it can prove fatal in some. Not all cases of WPW follow an inheritance pattern - sometimes it just seems to happen without a recognized genetic cause. And WPW is not the only possible contributing genetic factor. Or this could all just be really terrible luck and there may not be a genetic link at all.

Obviously a proper workup with a genetic counselor might provide more information.
Drawing out a family tree in full may help confirm a possible genetic pattern. Having this information organized before seeing a genetic counselor would help greatly.

*I do have a BS in genetics, but I am not a genetic counselor. I am not *your *genetic counselor. I didn’t even stay in a Holiday Inn express last night.

Yep, my sister covered some of that with me but thanks for laying it out in case others here are curious.

A genetic history is a bit complicated because WWII truncated my father’s family so severely as well as destroying all records from the European branch of the family, so we have to make do with what’s known after people arrived in the US. Further complicated by such things as rheumatic fever and other diseases that are now rare being more common and death at a young age being more common.

As I mentioned, Dr. Sister is investigating that, in large part because she’s the one with surviving kids who might also be affected if there’s a genetic problem. She’s got the death certificates from our family back as far as the surviving records go, and she’s already arranged for genetic testing on tissue samples saved from the nephew’s autopsy. Have no idea when or if we might get results. It’s her and her family who would probably be most impacted by this, as I never had kids and I’m past the age of having them so even if there is a bad gene in the family I won’t be passing it on. I’ve never shown any signs of heart disease, either, though, since I’ve never shown signs of it no one has ever really looked for it. Even if I did have one of the potential genetic flaws it obviously has not affected me to this point (whether or not it would do so in the future is a different matter). My sister said most (all?) of these genetic variations are autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance, so it’s possible to have it and never actually have it impact a person.

Dr. Sister also, because she’s thorough like that, researched what sort of testing would be needed to determine if I am affected, in the event we discover we have such an inheritance and I want to know if/how much I personally have been affected. If my insurance won’t cover it I could pay for it out of pocket if I so desire, and it would cost less than the co-payment I’ve paying off for the MRI I had earlier this year. I’ll worry about that IF we discover a bad gene in the family.

I’m really hoping it’s just a run of bad luck, though.

Nope, not a run of bad luck. We officially have a Bad Gene loose in dad’s side of the family tree. Dr. Sister has it, as does her son (asymptomatic at present, but a medical work up showed problems developing). Her daughter is getting tested.

Apparently this gene is associated with curly hair - mine is straight. But “associated” is not the same as guaranteed.

Damn, I’m sorry to hear that Broomstick. i hope testing and early treatment help your remaining nieces and nephews live longer lives.