Long QT syndrome and sudden unexpected infant death
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    Regarding post-mortem genetic testing
    • Neil Langlois, Forensic Pathologist Forensic Science SA & University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    • Other Contributors:
      • Sarah Parsons, Forensic Pathologist

    We found the paper ‘Long QT syndrome and sudden unexpected infant death’ by Van Niekerk and colleagues to be comprehensive and interesting. We would like to point out that there appears to be a misunderstanding as the authors state that in Australia and New Zealand all sudden and unexpected deaths are mandated to undergo targeted post-mortem genetic testing. Guidelines published by TRAGADY (Trans-Tasman Response AGAinst sudden Death in the Young) advocate that material suitable for DNA extraction must be obtained as part of the best practice guidelines for investigation of sudden death of a young person (1). However, subsequent genetic analysis is not mandated. A policy on the genetic investigation of cause of death in coronial autopsy cases has been recently released by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) (2). It is likely this policy document was not available at the time Van Niekerk and colleagues were writing their paper. The RPCA policy states that genetic testing of the deceased is not endorsed in the absence of engagement of the family of the deceased with a genetic counselling service and confirmation of a family history compatible with a heritable disorder. Ideally, there should be identification in the living relatives of a putative genetic defect (or defects) or phenotype for which testing is available. For a number of reasons, some of which are outlined in the RCPA policy document, mandatory post-mortem genetic testing may not be benefic...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.