YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A cause of death has been determined for the Youngstown State University student who suddenly collapsed at the university’s recreation center.
Mahoning County Deputy Coroner Dr. Joseph Ohr said Eric Stone died of arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition of the heart that affects only 1 in 5,000 people.
Ohr said the heart condition is a result of a genetic disorder that basically causes heart cells to start to fall apart and form scar tissue. This can cause difficulty for the heart to pump blood throughout the body.
Arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy affects people differently. While some may have symptoms such as a skipped heart beat, shortness of breath and heart palpitations, others will experience nothing at all.
A person has the disorder as a child, but it usually manifests in young adulthood. Ohr said it affects men more than women, although it affects all races equally.
Ohr said Stone’s family does have a history of heart conditions, although not specifically arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy. He recommends those with a history of heart conditions in the family get a genetic work up to identify any problem genes.
“Some people are affected by it, and some people live their whole life and it never causes them a problem… It’s just one of those weird things,” he said.
Stone’s brother is now being tested for the same condition, with the hope of preventing further tragedy, Ohr said.
Treatment can range from therapy and medicine, as well as restricting physical activity and alcohol.