Reducing sudden death in young people in Australia and New Zealand: the TRAGADY initiative

Jon R Skinner, Johan A Duflou and Christopher Semsarian
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb02173.x
Published online: 17 November 2008

Best-practice guidelines mandate a full postmortem examination in these deaths to identify genetic causes and allow potentially life-saving interventions in the victim’s relatives

The sudden and unexpected death of an apparently fit, healthy young person has a devastating effect on the family and community. If there is no adequate explanation for the death, the desperate sadness is usually compounded by frustration and fear that another family member may be struck. Yet, there is no uniform process in place in Australia and New Zealand to obtain a proper medical history of the victim, or to examine and investigate the victim’s family. Such a process could provide clues to the diagnosis and also identify previously undiagnosed genetic diseases.

  • Jon R Skinner1
  • Johan A Duflou2,3
  • Christopher Semsarian4,5

  • 1 Green Lane Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Services, Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • 2 Department of Forensic Medicine, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Department of Pathology, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 5 Agnes Ginges Centre for Molecular Cardiology, Centenary Institute, Sydney, NSW.



We thank the wider membership of TRAGADY for donating their time and expertise. We are also grateful for the seeding grant provided by the Australia and New Zealand Children’s Heart Research Centre.


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