Cardiac arrest in babies is something we don’t often hear about, but it sadly happens. Just recently, a two-month-old baby girl died due to cardiac arrest while at West Midland Safari Park in Worcestershire, England last April 1, Easter Sunday.
According to a BBC news report, the park’s trained staff quickly provided aid until police and emergency medical services arrived at the park. But sadly, they were not able to save the little girl.
The park’s authorities are not treating the baby’s death as suspicious.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the girl at this tragic time. Police officers are offering them support,” Police inspector Gurjit Singh said in a statement.
Continuing, he said, “I would like to thank staff and visitors at the park for their support and understanding while emergency services attended to the girl. I would request the family’s privacy be respected at this time.”
Sudden cardiac arrest in babies is rare and can strike even babies who are visibly healthy
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can strike at any time. And it can affect even those who are visibly healthy.
In children, sudden cardiac arrest commonly affects those aged 10 to 19. But it can occur in babies under the age of one. In fact, sudden cardiac arrest in babies accounts for about 10 to 15 cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
How can mums and dads prevent sudden cardiac arrest in babies?
The most common causes of this life-threatening condition are:
- Cardiac abnormalities, such as congenital heart disease, coronary artery anomalies, or Marfan syndrome
- Irregularities in the heart’s muscle structure or electrical function
- Infection or inflammation of the heart
- Irregular heartbeats, such as arrhythmia
- Atherosclerotic coronary disease
- Injuries to the chest
- Drug-related cardiac arrest
All of these causes are often diagnosed after the attack. Most of the time, the family is unaware that they have a family history of the condition.
It helps to be aware of the risk factors to consult your child’s paediatrician about. Some of the most common are: congenital heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms, obesity, hypertension, drugs, medications, blows to the chest, or undiagnosed cardiac conditions.
The warning signs of an impending cardiac arrest in babies could be: palpitations, shortness of breath, or unexplained fainting.
Naturally, it’s especially difficult to detect symptoms in very young children. So if you have a family history of heart disease, dying before the age of 50, or unexplained fainting or seizures, it’s best to have your baby checked.
Sources: BBC News, The Straits Times, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, European Journal of Pediatrics
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