Sudden cardiac arrest and death in children
- Stuart Berger, MD
Stuart Berger, MD
- Executive Director, Pediatric Heart Center at Lurie Children's Hospital
- Vice Chair, Clinical Affairs Pediatrics at Lurie Children's Hospital
- Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University
- Section Editors
- John K Triedman, MD
John K Triedman, MD
- Section Editor — Pediatric Cardiology
- Professor of Pediatrics
- Harvard Medical School
- Martin I Lorin, MD
Martin I Lorin, MD
- Section Editor — General Pediatrics
- Professor of Pediatrics
- Baylor College of Medicine
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and sudden cardiac death (SCD) in children and adolescents are relatively rare. However, because these are unexpected, devastating conditions, concerted efforts have been made to continue to find evidence-based strategies that will prevent these events in a cost-effective manner.
The incidence, etiology, and prodromal signs of SCA/SCD in children and adolescents will be reviewed here. In addition, the role of screening to prevent pediatric SCA/SCD and the approach to evaluating survivors of SCA and victims of SCD will also be discussed.
The management of children with cardiopulmonary arrest is discussed separately. (See "Pediatric advanced life support (PALS)" and "Defibrillation and cardioversion in children (including automated external defibrillation)".)
The reported incidence of SCA/SCD in children and young adults ranges from 0.5 to 20 per 100,000 person-years [1-7]. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1500 people under 25 years of age die each year of SCD .
In a population-based study from the state of Washington (1980 to 2009), the overall incidence of SCA among people aged 0 to 35 years was 2.28 per 100,000 . Incidence rates and survival rates varied according to age:
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- WARNING SIGNS
- ECG findings
- DROWNING AND SUDDEN INFANT DEATH
- DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS
- PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES
- Primary prevention (screening)
- - Approach to screening
- Routine health care visits
- Preparticipation sports assessment
- Further evaluation and referral
- - Uncertainties of screening
- Universal versus selective screening
- Age of screening
- Method of screening
- Secondary prevention
- SURVIVORS OF SCA
- VICTIMS OF SCD
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS