This study has ended and the data are being analysed.
It has been suggested that conditions that cause an irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia) could cause some ‘unexplained’ stillbirths. The conditions occur because of a genetic mutation affecting the heart beat – the same mutations can lead to the sudden death of a young, otherwise healthy, person.
This study has involved looking to see whether stillborn babies with an unexplained cause have the genetic signature for an irregular heartbeat. If they do, it points to a possible cause and also means that family members can be offered genetic testing and counselling.
Who conducted the research?
This study was funded via the charity Wellbeing of Women.
The work took place at University College London, St Barts and Great Ormond Street hospitals and was led by Dr Sudhin Thayyil.
This was a 2 year study; the results are being analysed and will be published shortly.