San Francisco POstmortem Systematic InvesTigation of Sudden Cardiac Death (POST SCD)

UCSF POST SCD Logo with Golden Gate Bridge

Welcome! We are a clinical research laboratory with a multidisciplinary team and collaborations with local and federal agencies to comprehensively characterize the burden, underlying causes, and risk factors of sudden cardiac death in our prototypic, diverse U.S. community.

In 2010, in collaboration with the San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we established the NIH-funded San Francisco POstmortem Systematic InvesTigation of Sudden Cardiac Death (POST SCD) Study, a first of its kind partnership between cardiac electrophysiology specialists and the County Medical Examiner to perform comprehensive autopsies for every incident out-of-hospital sudden death within the County of San Francisco meeting WHO criteria. We collect and review all antemortem medical history to recreate that individual's composite past medical history, and integrate these data with paramedic runsheets, toxicology, autopsy, and histology results. A panel of two cardiologists, two pathologists, a neurologist, an HIV expert (as needed), and a pediatric cardiologist (as needed), then adjudicate underlying causes for all SCDs. These rigorous investigations of nearly every incident SCD in an entire metropolitan area represent the most comprehensive study of its kind on the epidemiology and underlying causes of SCD.