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Grand Rounds: Using the Molecular Autopsy to Understand Sudden Cardiac Death


By Barbara Sampson, MD, PhD , Clinical Professor of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, NYU School of Medicine

Objectives (Educational Content) :

1. Define sudden cardiac death and describe which deaths are most appropriate for molecular testing. 2. Explain the current techniques and analysis available for the molecular autopsy, including their limitations. 3. Integrate the results of the molecular autopsy into the final determination of cause and manner of death and family counseling.

Target Audience:

General pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, psychologists and nurses

Identified Gap:

Use of the molecular autopsy will provide more useful health information and improved outcomes for families affected by cardiac disease.

Estimated Time to Complete the Educational Activity:

1 hour

Expiration Date for CME Credit:


Method of Physician Participation in the Learning Process:

The learner will view the presentation, successfully complete a post-test and complete an activity evaluation.

Evaluation Methods:

All learners must successfully complete a post-test, as well as an activity evaluation, to claim CME credit.


Dr. Sampson has indicated that she has no relevant financial interest in any pharmaceutical or medical device company and that this activity was developed independent of commercial interest.

Accreditation Statement:

Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron is accredited by the Ohio State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CHMCA designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit TM.  Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Carrasco et al, 2012; Stattin et al.,2012. Chen (2011) Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 34: 1652. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2017; 10:e0018389.DOI; 10.1161; CIRC GENETICS 117.001839.