Pediatric Cardiac Arrest in Children

Posted on December 1, 2009
Majority of pediatric sudden cardiac arrests occurred in children younger
than 1 year

Although the burden of sudden death in a pediatric population was low, most
incidences of sudden cardiac arrest occurred in children aged younger than 1
year, results from a population-based analysis suggested.

Researchers for the ongoing Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study evaluated
data from residents of Multnomah County who underwent sudden cardiac arrest.
The researchers included 33 children who met the criteria for sudden cardiac
arrest. Data were obtained from the emergency medical response system, the
county medical examiner’s office and 16 area hospitals.

The pediatric annual incidence rate per 100,000 population was 1.7 (95% CI,
1.1-2.3) and was 7.5 (95% CI, 5.1-10.5) per 100,000 children. Most sudden
deaths (n=25) occurred in children aged younger than 1 year. Pediatric
sudden cardiac arrests accounted for 2.8% of all sudden cardiac arrests
reported during the study period. The researchers also reported that 23
cases (92%) met the criteria for sudden infant death syndrome. There was a
trend toward predominance in female children for the occurrence of SIDS
(P=.53). Among cases of SIDS, smoking in the home was reported in 41% of the
patients (although smoking circumstances were unknown in another 41% of the

“In this population-based study, the overall incidence of pediatric sudden
death was low, but SIDS constituted the majority of sudden deaths in
children,” the researchers concluded. “Population education to prevent SIDS
and emphasis on the role of enhanced postnatal evaluation to diagnose occult
heart disease are the two interventions that may have the greatest impact on
prevention of sudden death in children.”

Chugh SS. Heart Rhythm. 2009;6:1618-1622

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