A grieving mum told how she only discovered she had a potentially fatal heart condition – after her young daughter died unexpectedly.
The parents of Elise Fitzpatrick were left heart-broken when they found the ‘perfectly healthy’ 24-year-old dental nurse dead on her sofa.
An inquest later heard that Elise had suffered Sudden Adult Death Syndrome – otherwise known as sudden arrhythmia death syndrome – prompting her mother Kirsty to be tested.
To her horror the mum-of-four discovered that she had a genetic disorder which could cause a fatal heart attack.
She is now nervously awaiting DNA tests to see if Elise could have died because of the same genetic heart disorder.
Kirsty, 45, said: “It won’t be confirmed until July but it is very likely that my genetic disorder could have caused the Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.”
The mother of four, Connor, 17, Macie, 11, Tilly, eight, and Isla, five, is now worried that her other children will inherit the same condition.
She added: “I’m scared that me and my family are at risk now.
“Due to this disorder, it means that there is a 50% risk that my whole family could be affected by this.”
Kirsty is now urging other families that are worried about the syndrome to get themselves tested.
Mum Kirsty told how she discovered that her daughter after becoming concerned when she could not contact her in September 3 last year.
She said: “It was just an ordinary day.
“She had been out with her friend the night before, they hadn’t been drinking or anything,
“I always ask her to text me in the morning. But in the morning there wasn’t a text. “
Kirsty and her husband Sean went to check up on Elise in her flat in Rayne, Essex, where they found her dead.
She added: “We went to check on her, and no-one answered the door.
“One of her windows was open and because she lived on the ground floor, we climbed through.
“Then we realised she had passed away in her sleep. ”
Kirsty said: “I had tried to resuscitate her but she had passed quite a while before.
“There were no suspicious circumstances and it took a while for us to find out what it was.”
Elise was was pronounced dead at her flat where ambulance and police attended, she was then taken to Broomfield hospital Chelmsford where they examined the body.
Elise had previously been perfectly healthy and her parents were shocked and confused at how she passed.
Symptoms for SADs can include fainting during exercise or excitement or having unusual chest pains.
Kirsty said: “It was a horrible time for us.
“Not only had our daughter died, we had no idea why.
“There wasn’t any indication that anything was wrong with her and it took so long to get any answers.”
After three months of investigation by a Coroner, the cause of death was noted as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
After Elise’s death in September last year, Kirsty wanted answers so she got involved with the Cardiac Risk in the Young foundation.
She underwent various tests at St George’s Hospital in London, which revealed she had a genetic disorder called Brugada, which causes an abnormal heart rhythm.
Elise’s DNA has now been kept to see if there is a common link with her mum’s disorder and her case of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Elise had just moved into a flat in Rayne, Essex, just down the road from her parents house and was looking forward to creating a life for herself.
Kirsty said: “She had been out the night before with a friend who said she had been complaining of a headache and feeling cold.
“I had never heard of anything like Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, it isn’t an answer.
She said: “She was the happiest she had ever been, she knew what she wanted in life and she had a list of what she wanted to do. It was totally unfair.”
“She didn’t have a bad bone in her body- she was beautiful, had a great sense of humour and loved life.
On Sunday, Elise’s friends and family ran the Para10 in her memory, to raise awareness of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome and raise funds for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young.
Dad Sean, a cadet instructor, is running the 10 Mile route carrying a 35lb rucksack.
So far almost £1,500 has been raised.
To donate visit Elise’s fundraising page / S A D syndrome at virginmoneygiving.com.
For more information about SADS visit www.sads.org.uk.