The family of a young woman in Ireland who passed away unexpectedly while she was sleeping is speaking out about the pain they are experiencing and issuing a warning to others about a dreadful condition that affects young adults.
Catherine Keane, who was 31 years old and in good health when she passed away in the middle of the night in July of last year, was a victim of a disorder called Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, also known as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome.
According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the syndrome is an “umbrella term to describe unexpected deaths in young people,” mainly in those under the age of 40, where a post-mortem can identify no evident cause of death and there was no sign of illness before death.
A registry that was implemented in Victoria approximately two years ago estimates that the condition claims the lives of approximately 750 young people in that state on an annual basis; however, it is unknown how many individuals die from the ailment on a global scale each year.
The Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne has the ambition of expanding the registration to cover the entire country.
In the meantime, members of Catherine’s family are spreading the word about their experience in the hopes that it would encourage others with a cardiac history in their families to get evaluated for sudden adult death syndrome.
According to Catherine’s mother, Margherita Cummins, her daughter was discovered by her flatmates in Dublin the previous year. Catherine was living there at the time.
Cummins went on to say that Catherine was thriving professionally and was in excellent health up until the time of her passing away.
“She worked for an advertising company and was doing really well. She went to the gym and walked 10,000 steps every day,” she added.
Cummins continued by describing her suffering, saying that there were always so many reminders of her daughter throughout the day.
“I try and look at something positive to get me through, but there are so many reminders everywhere,” she said.
“I take some comfort in that she went in her sleep and knew no pain, and I’m grateful for that. I always worried about the kids driving in the car but never saw this coming. I never thought I’d ever lose a child in my life.”