Understanding a Broken Heart: Genetic Testing After Sudden Cardiac Death

Originally presented: Feb. 14, 2024

Video length: 66 minutes


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a devastating event that occurs unexpectedly, often without any prior symptoms. Postmortem genetic testing may be used in conjunction with a traditional autopsy to assist with establishing cause and manner of death. However, the lack of routine collection of blood for genetic studies often hampers the ability to perform genetic analyses postmortem. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has a novel clinically validated assay for sequencing of DNA from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue (FFPE) samples that are consistently collected at autopsy. In this webinar, we discuss the feasibility and importance of genetic testing in sudden cardiac death.


Linnea Baudhuin, Ph.D.

Consultant, Laboratory Genetics and Genomics
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Joseph Maleszewski, M.D.

Consultant, Anatomic Pathology
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Define sudden death and describe its genetic underpinnings.
  • Describe situations in which postmortem genetic testing adds value to the care of patients and their families.
  • Enumerate pre-analytic and analytic limitations of postmortem genetic testing for cardiovascular diseases.

Intended audience

This webinar is appropriate for pathologists, cardiologists, genetic counselors, laboratory technologists, and other allied health staff.


The following types of credit are offered for this event:


Mayo Clinic Laboratories is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® program. This program has been approved for a maximum of 1.0 P.A.C.E.® contact hour.

State of Florida

Mayo Clinic Laboratories is approved as a Continuing Education Accrediting Agency for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences for the State of Florida. Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel has designated this program for General credit. This program has been approved for 1.0 contact hour.

To obtain credit

1. Watch the video.

2. Complete the posttest and evaluation that launches immediately following the video.

3. Generate and print your certificate(s).

Level of instruction for this program is intermediate.

Credit for this recording expires: February 14, 2026.

Faculty disclosure

Course director(s), planning committee, faculty, and all others who are in a position to control the content of this educational activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest related to the subject matter of the educational activity. Safeguards against commercial bias have been put in place. Faculty members also will disclose any off-label and/or investigational use of pharmaceuticals or instruments discussed in their presentations. Disclosure of this information will be published in course materials so those participants in the activity may formulate their own judgments regarding the presentations.


Contact us: mcleducation@mayo.edu

MCL Education

This post was developed by our Education and Technical Publications Team.