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Day 16: Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Kids


Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Children from
Detroit Medical Center on Vimeo.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly becomes unable to function properly.

How common is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

This condition occurs in several hundred thousand individuals in the United States yearly. While heart related deaths occur much less frequently in young people, if it does happen, it is especially devastating to families, schools and the extended community.

Are there symptoms?

Though sudden cardiac arrest may come without warning, many times, victims have had previous symptoms, or a family history of serious heart disease.

  • Symptoms may manifest with exercise as follows:


  • - Sudden, unexplained fainting
    - Unexplained seizures
    - Shortness of breath, not explained by a more common health issue such as asthma
  • Racing or fluttering heartbeats
  • Racing or fluttering heartbeats
  • Family history of sudden heart related death before the age of 50

      What may be the cause of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Children?

      • Previously unrecognized heart defects
      • Heart muscle abnormalities
      • Inflammation of the heart from another illness
      • Cardiac arrhythmias
      • Malfunction of the heart's electrical system
      • Commotio Cordis
      • Blow to the heart which causes an arrhythmia

      What should you do if you suspect Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

      • When a person goes into sudden cardiac arrest, seconds and minutes can mean the difference between life and death. When someone is unresponsive and not breathing call 911 and take action to help the victim.
      • Learning CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator; a device that can diagnose life threatening arrhythmias and shock the heart back into an effective rhythm) can save a life.

      How is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Treated?

      • Your doctor will ask a series of detailed questions in order to determine whether or not these concerns are related to heart disease.
      • They may also choose to order tests or consults.
      • Education and public awareness of cardiovascular warning signs in the young can aid in the detection of those at risk.











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      James Galas, M.D.

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      Heart Health Tips