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Woman died from SADS, inquest rules

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 21, 2012

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MYSTERY surrounds the death of a St Teath woman who had previously been fit and well.

An inquest on Tuesday found that homemaker Layne Norsworthy had passed away aged 51 from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

Her husband Richard told the inquest at Truro that in the days leading up to her death she had been fit and healthy, going to weekly fitness classes at the village hall.

"The day before [she died] we went for a walk on the beach with our dogs," he said. "It all happened so quickly."

Mrs Norsworthy, from Treburgett, was admitted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske, Truro, in cardiac arrest on February 20 after complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. She died there later that day.

The court heard how there was no history of heart disease in Mrs Norsworthy's family, she was a non-smoker, and her parents are still fit and well in their eighties.

Pathologist Robert Marshall revealed she had a morphologically normal heart and said an autopsy gave no clues as to the cause of death.

"It's uncommon but not exotically rare these days that people will die suddenly with nothing apparently wrong with their heart," said Dr Marshall.

He added that there is often nothing that can be done to prevent this happening, or foresee it.

Mrs Norsworthy's family said at the inquest they thought she had been frustrated because she was constantly tired but no one could identify what was wrong with her.

Her husband said she had taken gluten and lactose out of her diet as a result.

David Norsworthy, her son, said: "She was very active and sporty but barely had energy to do two hours' gardening."

But Mr Marshall said it was likely that none of these symptoms would have been linked to her death.

Emma Carlyon, Coroner for Cornwall, passed the verdict that Mrs Norsworthy died of natural causes, namely SADS.

The frequency of the condition is not fully known but research has indicated that SADS claims about 500 lives every year in the UK.

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