Genetic causes of SIDS

SIDS is devastating for families and new genetic research shows how some SIDS deaths may be prevented by early diagnosis and treatment of specific congenital diseases in otherwise healthy looking babies.

SIDS is "the sudden and unexpected death of an infant under one year of age with an onset of a fatal episode occurring during sleep that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation".

Safe sleeping has dramatically reduced the rate of SIDS in Australia (read more) and is a crucial part of SIDS prevention. However, safe sleeping does not completely stop SIDS deaths.

New research offers hope that infant deaths due to SIDS may be reduced even further.

Studies show that up to 15% of SIDS deaths are associated with specific genetic diseases. The most common genetic cause for SIDS is thought to be Long QT syndrome, which causes up to 12% of SIDS deaths.

Long QT syndrome causes an irregular heartbeat, which can result in a heart attack in sleeping infants to cause SIDS.

Long QT syndrome can be treated by medication, which is only effective with early diagnosis. As Long QT is difficult to diagnose in infants, pro-active screening for Long QT syndrome at birth may be an effective way to prevent Long QT syndrome associated SIDS deaths.

A 2017 study indicates genetic screening could be useful in preventing SIDS deaths due to Long QT syndrome.

The NextGen Test is the first accredited test in the world to identify Long QT syndrome in newborns, allowing early treatment which may prevent SIDS deaths.

Order the NextGen Test

NextGen by Genepath allows you to detect serious medical conditions early, so your baby can undergo treatment to prevent complications:

  • Accredited by NATA & RCPA, who assure the quality of pathology testing in Australia
  • Screen for over 50 treatable conditions in a single test
  • Highly accurate tests (99.6% technical sensitivity & 100% technical specificity)
  • Australian owned & operated


Identify serious conditions early so early treatment and intervention can prevent:

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Intellectual disability
  • 20 serious conditions in total

NextGen PLUS

Give yourself complete peace of mind, and do everything you can to give your child the best start to life by proactively identifying:

  • NextGen and 40 more conditions
  • 60 serious conditions in total

View full list of conditions for each test

How it works

Order online & nominate your doctor

We contact you to answer any questions

Your doctor requests the test & we send you the DNA test kit

You return the mouth swab by post

Your doctor receives the report & explains the results to you

Order Test