(HealthDay News) — Women are more likely than men to suffer sudden cardiac death (SCD) during nighttime hours, according to a study published online in Heart Rhythm.

Archana Ramireddy, MD, from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles, and colleagues characterized nighttime SCD (occurring from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) using data from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study.

The researchers identified 4126 SCD cases (66.2% male), of which 22.3% occurred during nighttime hours. Women were more likely to suffer from nighttime SCD than men (25.4 vs 20.6%). Female sex (odds ratio, 1.3), medications associated with somnolence/respiratory depression (odds ratio, 1.2), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/asthma (odds ratio, 1.4) were independently associated with nighttime SCD.

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“Respiratory suppression is a concern, and caution is advisable when prescribing central nervous system-affecting medications to patients at increased risk of SCD, especially women,” the authors write.


Ramireddy A, Chugh H, Reinier K, et al. Sudden cardiac death during nighttime hours. Heart Rhythm. doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2020.12.035