‘Get screened’, urge family of 27-year-old Gosport man who died of heart condition

THE family of a man who died suddenly from a suspected undiagnosed heart condition are urging others to get screened.  

Matthew Carscadden, who grew up in Gosport, died in June last year while working on luxury yachts in Florida. 

Matthew Carscadden

An inquest held at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard the 27-year-old most likely died from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (Sads).

The engineer had been at a bar in West Palm Beach with friends when he collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest.

Emergency services were able to restart his heart but he remained in a coma in hospital for three days, relying on machines to help him breathe.

On doctors recommendations Matt’s family turned off the machines and he died on June 7, 2017.

The inquest heard from cardiovascular pathologist Dr Mary Sheppard, who ran a series of tests on Matt’s heart, that he most likely died from electrical abnormalities of the heart.

Now, his mum Sam and sister Maisie want people to get themselves screened for heart defects.

In a statement to The News, the family said: ‘Fifteen months after we lost Matt, we have finally received a form a closure.

‘We will never get over losing such a funny, loving and caring son, brother and friend, but the inquest allows us to move onto the next chapter. 

‘After what we as a family have been through this past year, we urge all young adults to be screened. Knowing that a screening could have possibly saved Matt’s life highlights how important it is to book an appointment.

‘More information on this can be found on the Cardiac Risk in the Young charity website.

‘Matt will be forever be in our hearts and precious memories will constantly bring smiles to our faces.’

The inquest heard from Dr Sheppard that no abnormalities were found with Matt’s heart.

She said: ‘When you find no cause in the heart, we call that a negative autopsy. After that, we consider electricity in the heart but that can only be seen using an ECG on living people.

‘It is only by screening people that any abnormalities can be detected and Matt was never screened.

‘Because I found the heart normal, one takes into account all of the other possible reasons like the heart’s electricity.’

Dr Sheppard told Matt's family the problem with his heart would have had very subtle or non-existent symptoms.

She added: ‘He wouldn’t have felt any pain. He would become immediately unconscious.’

Sam replied: ‘I am glad he wasn’t in any pain, that’s all I really needed to know. It has helped me knowing it would have been quick.’

Toxicology tests carried out by American doctors found Matt had alcohol and trace amounts of cocaine in his system when he died.

In their conclusion, the pathologist said the main cause of death was Sads with a secondary cause of cocaine toxicity. Their report added: ‘There was no cardiovascular damage to the heart which is common in long-term cocaine use.

‘In my opinion, in this situation death is down to an underlying arrhythmic heart disease which could have been triggered by cocaine use.’

Summing up the evidence, the assistant coroner said Matthew suffered a serious cardiac event.

She added: ‘I’m satisfied that although we have heard there can be affects caused by cocaine, this was not the case with Matthew. It did not play a significant role in that way.’

In her narrative verdict, she concluded: ‘Matthew died of sudden death due to an undiagnosed electrical heart condition that was probably caused by cocaine consumption that, on the balance of probability, was unlikely to be fatal.’

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