New York :  In what could lead to prevention of sudden cardiac arrest, a study led by an Indian-origin cardiologist has found that levels of sex hormones in the blood are linked to the heart rhythm disorder.

Measuring the levels of sex hormones in patients’ blood may identify patients likely to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, the findings showed.

Higher testosterone (the predominant male sex hormone) levels in men may offer protection from sudden cardiac arrest and lower levels of estrogen (the major female sex hormone) may protect both men and women.

“This is the first time it has been reported that there is an association between sex hormone levels and sudden cardiac arrest,” said lead researcher Sumeet Chugh, director of the heart rhythm centre at Cedars Sinai Heart Institute in the US.

Cardiac arrest which comes with little or no warning is fatal in 95 percent of patients.

Up to five million people worldwide die from this heart rhythm disorder.

Researchers measured blood hormone levels in 149 patients who had a sudden cardiac arrest, comparing them with levels of 149 patients who had coronary artery disease but did not have sudden cardiac arrest.

While lower levels of testosterone were found in men who had a sudden cardiac arrest, higher levels of estrogen were strongly associated with greater chances of having a sudden cardiac arrest in both men and women.

The study appeared in the journal Heart Rhythm.