About Sudden Cardiac Death and the Young
Each month in the United States, an estimated 250 young people die suddenly and unexpectedly due to cardiac arrhythmias.
These conditions include arrhythmogenic right ventricular displasia (ARVD), Long OT Syndrome (LOTS), Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), and others.
These conditions are now known to be three times more common in the US than childhood leukemia and occur 1/3 as often as cystic fibrosis and twice as often as PKU (an infant protein deficiency which causes mental retardation).
1 in 200,000 high school athletes in the US will die suddenly, most without any prior symptoms. Accoring to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from sudden cardiac arrhythmias increased 10 percent (from 2,719 in 1989 to 3,000 in 1996) in people between the ages of 15 and 34.
Most Sudden Cardiac Deaths in children are due to hereditary conditions and, therefore more than one family member will be at risk. It is extremely important that all family members be tested once one family member is diagnosed.
The symptoms of genetic arrhythmias are frequently misdiagnosed as vasovagal syncope, asthma or epilepsy without any cardiac evaluation. Thus, the opportunity to diagnose and treat ARVD and related disorders is missed.
Most cardiac arrhythmias, that may cause sudden death in the young, are identifiable and treatable. With treatment, people with these conditions often have normal life spans and lifestyles.
A child should be seen by a doctor if she/he has:
Family history of unexpected, unexplained sudden death in a young person
Fainting (syncope) or seizure during exercise, excitement or startle
Consistent or unusual chest pain and/or shortness of breath during or after exercise.
The life you save may be your child’s... or your own!