Gran’s collapse reveals family shares deadly condition

The grandmother's Eriksen-style cardiac arrest showed she had a life-threatening genetic heart condition.

Gran’s collapse reveals family shares deadly condition NHS

Sarah Latto was one of millions of stunned TV viewers who watched Denmark captain Christian Eriksen collapse during his country’s Euro 2020 match with Finland.

The footballer’s life was saved by prompt action from the medical teams in place for the event.

Now Sarah – whose own collapse happened at home – is urging Scots to sign up for a special event where cardiac experts will share potentially life-saving advice.

A keen-eyed GP referred Sarah to a cardiologist after a dizzy spell resulted in a minor head injury. No one in the family had suffered any cardiac episodes up to then.

Whilst Sarah waited for blood test results, her mother Doreen Scott, from Fife, was also hospitalised after suffering cardiac arrest, like Erikson. Further tests resulted in both mother and daughter being diagnosed with an inherited cardiac condition known as Long QT Syndrome.

Crail resident Doreen Scott (89), her daughter Sarah Latto (49) and Sarah’s daughter Jasmine (15), all share a rare genetic marker that went undiagnosed until two separate accidents at home.

Genetic screening of the whole family soon revealed seven relatives, aged nine to 76 at the time, shared the same gene mutation. Because inherited cardiac conditions are complex, each family member requires bespoke treatment.

Since the diagnosis, Sarah said her motto is “be thankful for today and pray for a fun-filled and healthy tomorrow”.

She said: “It was frightening to think that I had passed something on to my daughter genetically. But at the age of nine Jasmine took it all in her stride. She told me, ‘Mum if my heart is as special as yours then I’ll be just fine.’

“This made me cry but in the same heartbeat, it gives me the strength to give back, like I’m doing through the talk for the online event run by the Network for Inherited Cardiac Conditions.

“When we saw Erikson’s collapse, or anyone for that matter, you hope and pray for them to survive cardiac arrest and for that chance to be with their family and loved ones again. The chain of survival and promoting this is key – having people trained in CPR and not frightened to do it. That was key to my mum’s survival, too.”

Around 10,000 people living in Scotland have an inherited cardiac condition. For many families, the first sign there’s something wrong is when someone dies suddenly, with no obvious cause. 

It is thought that inherited cardiac conditions are responsible for the deaths of around 50-60 young people in Scotland each year.

Sarah encourages anyone who suffers dizziness or has a family member who died unexpectedly to find out more and get themselves screened. To find out more about the Network for Inherited Cardiac Conditions visit here.

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