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Question
Posted by: Christine Cain | 2011/11/17

Barlow Syndrome

There is Barlow Syndrome in my husbands family,are there tests that my children can have done to see if they have this problem.My husband died instantaneously at the gym,while on a cycle bike.He was used to road races and cycled regularly.He was 64years old and was still working.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCardiologist

Hi Christine.

I am sorry to hear about your husband. It is true that people with Barlow’s syndrome may die suddenly, but that is rare and usually only occurs in people with a severe form of Barlow’s syndrome.

Sudden death at the age of 64 is more likely to be due to coronary artery disease, in fact sudden cardiac death is quite frequently the first manifestation of coronary disease. The fact that you husband had Barlow’s syndrome does not necessarily mean it was the cause of his death.

Barlow’s syndrome (mitral valve prolapse) is usually easy to diagnose because it causes either a click or a murmur, or both, when you listen to the heart with a stethoscope. It is also easy to diagnose with an echocardiogram, which can be done for you by any cardiologist. However, please beware of “overdiagnosis” of Barlow’s syndrome., in other words diagnosis of Barlow’s syndrome on the basis of doubtful hocardiographic abnormalities; and remember also that mild forms of Barlow’s syndrome are extremely common and usually very benign.
By all means have your children screened for Barlow’s syndrome, but if one or more of them have a mild form of the condition please do not be alarmed and do not assume that he or she is at risk for sudden cardiac death. In the vast majority of people who have Barlows syndrome, it is a benign condition.

Best wishes. JT

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Our users say:
Posted by: Cardiologist | 2011/11/23

Hi Christine.

I am sorry to hear about your husband. It is true that people with Barlow’s syndrome may die suddenly, but that is rare and usually only occurs in people with a severe form of Barlow’s syndrome.

Sudden death at the age of 64 is more likely to be due to coronary artery disease, in fact sudden cardiac death is quite frequently the first manifestation of coronary disease. The fact that you husband had Barlow’s syndrome does not necessarily mean it was the cause of his death.

Barlow’s syndrome (mitral valve prolapse) is usually easy to diagnose because it causes either a click or a murmur, or both, when you listen to the heart with a stethoscope. It is also easy to diagnose with an echocardiogram, which can be done for you by any cardiologist. However, please beware of “overdiagnosis” of Barlow’s syndrome., in other words diagnosis of Barlow’s syndrome on the basis of doubtful hocardiographic abnormalities; and remember also that mild forms of Barlow’s syndrome are extremely common and usually very benign.
By all means have your children screened for Barlow’s syndrome, but if one or more of them have a mild form of the condition please do not be alarmed and do not assume that he or she is at risk for sudden cardiac death. In the vast majority of people who have Barlows syndrome, it is a benign condition.

Best wishes. JT

Reply to Cardiologist

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