Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) or sudden cardiac death (SCD) in children and adolescents is a devastating event. Although the true incidence is unclear, the etiologies are not. Strategies for prevention include both primary as well as secondary prevention strategies, and these strategies are not mutually exclusive. From a primary prevention standpoint, many of the episodes of SCA or SCD may occur without any antecedent warning signs and in the absence of an important family history. There are a subset of children and adolescents who may have antecedent warning signs and symptoms such as syncope with exercise, chest pain, and palpitations. This article addresses those symptoms specifically and in more detail to help guide the generalist with regard to a framework of risk stratification. The importance of secondary prevention is also discussed. It is critically important to promote and advocate for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) education for everyone, including all students prior to graduation from high school. CPR and AEDs save the lives of children, adolescents, and adults. A society that is able and willing to perform CPR will result in an increase in the incidence of lay-rescuer CPR and will undoubtedly save more lives.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health