Twenty-four-year-old Greta Dyrmishi was working as a flight attendant when she suddenly fainted. The plane from Tirana, Albania, was landing in London, UK. Two ambulances, an ambulance officer vehicle, a hazardous area response team vehicle, and an Essex and Herts Air Ambulance arrived at the airport to help her. But despite their efforts, she, unfortunately, passed away. A post-mortem revealed the cause of death: sudden adult death syndrome.
Flight Attendant Greta Dyrmishi Dies Suddenly
The airline, Air Albania, released a statement after Dyrmishi’s death. “On December 21, after disembarking the passengers from our flight to London, one of our cabin crew Greta Dyrmishi had a heart attack. Even after all medical assistance was provided immediately, we still lost her. She was taken to the hospital in London, and procedures were followed. From the first moments, Air Albania contacted her family, and we continue to be close to them in these difficult moments.
“In respect to Greta and her family, we decided to share the news with the public at the appropriate time. We will always remember Greta as a passionate professional, an excellent co-worker, and a great friend to all of us.” It concluded with well wishes to the deceased and her family.
On her social media account, Dyrmishi shared her moments from her job in its own saved story playlist. One included an aerial view of a lit-up city at night with the caption “that’s why I love my job” with a heart-eyed emoji. Other clips involve her in her flight attendant uniform, with colleagues, planes, and different views from the air.
Michel Brown, an area coroner for Essex, said there would be a full inquest into the death. “This 24-year-old female was cabin crew on a flight from Albania and was on the tarmac when she appeared to faint and was given basic first aid,” said Brown. “Ten minutes later there was no pulse and CPR commenced. Paramedics treated her and confirmed she had passed away. A post-mortem found her cause of death to be sudden adult death syndrome.” 
What is Sudden Death Syndrome?
Sudden death syndrome is a loose umbrella term for cardiac syndromes that cause sudden cardiac arrest. Some of the syndromes that fall under this category come from structural heart complications, and some involve irregularities with the heart’s electric impulses. But they all seem similar on the surface: An unexpected and sudden cardiac arrest, even in young and healthy people. In fact, most people aren’t aware that they have any heart abnormality until cardiac arrest takes place. While many people may not have heard of sudden adult death syndrome (SADS), it’s likely they have heard of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which includes the same sort of conditions but in infants.
Unfortunately, SDS is hard to predict because it can occur in people who seem perfectly healthy. The underlying syndromes often have no visible symptoms until the cardiac event. However, there are some factors that increase the risk of having these syndromes. These can include a family history of SDS, and pre-existing conditions like heart disease, epilepsy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmia. Remember, these factors don’t mean a person definitely has SDS because anyone could have it regardless of their state of health. 
The symptoms of SDS vary, and sometimes the first symptom is sudden death. But sometimes other symptoms warn of the incoming cardiac arrest. These can include loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, dizziness, heart palpitations, and chest pain, especially when active. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms appear unexpectedly.
Do Vaccines Cause SDS?
Recent controversy has circulated around sudden adult death syndrome. It’s been misrepresented as a new and mysterious illness, but it is neither. Unfortunately, young people dying suddenly from undiagnosed heart conditions have a long history, and research articles discussing it dates back to the 1980s.
But remember, it’s often difficult to diagnose SDS since an autopsy is required to look for abnormalities in the heart. Irregular electric impulses in the heart are even harder to diagnose. However, some people quickly blame the COVID-19 vaccine for this “new and mysterious” illness, but there is no evidence linking vaccinations to an increased risk of SDS.
There is no current cure for SDS, but people with risk factors may take precautions. They should speak to a doctor about their concerns, and they may receive advice such as exercising with caution, avoiding medications that may trigger symptoms, eating a heart-healthy diet, as well as having regular appointments with a doctor or cardiologist.
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- “Air Albania flight attendant, 24, dies suddenly after plane lands.” NZ Herald. Shireen Khalil. February 24, 2023
- “What Is Sudden Death Syndrome, and Is Prevention Possible?” Healthline. Kimberly Holland. June 13, 2019
- “No, Vaccines Aren’t Linked to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.” Snopes. Behtania Palma. June 15, 2022