Unexplained cardiac death is one of the biggest killers of Australian men aged under 50.

In almost every case death strikes those who are fit and healthy with no apparent symptoms.

Death comes out of the blue, without warning.

It is impossible to get an accurate figure on the number of lives it is claiming each year because the unexplained deaths are seen as random and are often recorded as "natural causes".

In most cases the cause of death remains "unexplained" even post-mortem.

We know men are five times more likely to be victims than women.

We know it strikes people from all walks of life, with all kinds of activities and jobs.

The rest is a mystery.

Until now, there has been no broad-based registry of these deaths anywhere in the world.

The Ross Dennerstein Foundation, together with the Baker Institute in Melbourne, led by Associate Professor Andre La Gerche and Professor Chris Semsarian from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney is tackling the unexplained cardiac death phenomenon.

In a world-first initiative, they have established a national data site to collect information, including tissue and blood samples of all victims, Australia wide. The information collected will cover both genotype and phenotype.

The data will form the basis of a significant research program.

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