Despite the recent rise in the number of Indians and South Asians in India and the UK dying from sudden cardiac death syndrome, there is currently no risk profile for these groups. Dr Rajay Narain, Clinical and Research Cardiologist, St George’s University of London, and his team, aim to address this issue.
Here he talks to Cardio Debate about his research into cardiovascular risk and sudden death syndrome in South Asians in the UK and in India.
My name is Dr Rajay Narain and I am a research cardiologist at St George’s University Hospital in London, which is one of the biggest research centers in Europe. I work alongside Professor Sanjay Sharma and Professor Juan Carlos Kaski and we are doing a big study on South Asians at the moment in the department, and that is the study I am leading in the department.
How are you recruiting patients in India?
So basically the study involves recruiting South Asians and Indians in the UK and Indians in India. So it is very easy for us to encourage people in the community centers here in the UK to get involved in the study. So we have our team, we put notice in advance in these community centers and we go with our team and screen for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and do the ECG, and they are seen at the end by a cardiologist. So it’s basically a full MOT, getting everything checked, and then getting information from a cardiologist about the risk profile.
We are looking at the incidence of cardiovascular risk profile in the young Indians and young South Asians below 40, so we are trying to recruit people who are less than 40 years of age. Because there are a lot of South Asians who present with heart attack and stroke at a very early age. And to date there is no study looking at the risk profile of South Asians in the UK and doing a comparative study with South Asians in India.
So we are trying to do a similar thing to recruiting Indians here, we are recruiting Indians in India, and doing a comparative study looking at all the risk profiles.
Why did you choose this particular project?
So as I said, in the last few years there has been a rise in the number of South Asians and Indians coming with stroke, heart attack, and obviously we don’t have any data, any information about the risk of having sudden death.
Sudden death in young people in the UK, between 14 and 35 years, about 12 to 15 people die each week die from sudden inherited heart diseases, sudden cardiac death. But there is no data on South Asians, so we don’t know anything about what happens in South Asians. So that is why we started this study to make sure we have some data, we can do some study and obviously try to help these people who have this risk profile.
What do you expect to achieve?
Hopefully over the next three to six months we should be able to complete our study. We should have the risk profile of Indians in India and Indians in the UK, and we can come up with the answer as to what the risk profile is like in these two groups – why this risk profile is high or low in these people.
Within the next three to six months we should have some answers.