For Medical Professionals
Whether you are a School Nurse, Family Physician, Pediatrician, Sports Physician, Cardiologist, or other Medical Professional, learning more about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) prevention is the first step toward building a heart-safe community for all our youth.
What You Need To Know About SCA in Youth
Not so Rare!
The word “rare” has often been used by some medical professionals and media reports to pacify the public in regards to the number of incidents of SCA and SCD cases in youth. This ratio is usually formulated in regards to the percentage of athletes affected out of a very specific and limited scope of the athletic population rather than including all affected youth in the United States population. The urgency of this issue is greatly minimized when the data gleaned only represents select athletes based on restricted criteria. Consequently, the true extent of SCA and SCD amongst all athletes and youth, regardless of the activity at the time of their arrest, is not accurately represented.
One of Parent Heart Watch’s major objectives is advocating for a National Registry of SCA in youth. Data regarding the extent that SCA is having on our youth will never be complete and accurate until mandatory reporting of this fatality to a national registry is required. Research has shown Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of fatalities on school property with a student athlete being affected approximately every three days. Survival Trends in the United States following exercise-related SCA in youth: 2000-2006. Heart Disease is the second leading cause of disease-related fatalities according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Properly implemented cardiac “Chain of Survival” programs increase survival rates by 60%. Effectiveness of Emergency Response Planning for SCA in United States High Schools With AEDs. SCA screening can be improved by becoming more aware about the warnings signs and risk factors, including family history.
- Cardiovascular disease is the second leading medical cause of death in children and adolescents in the United States.
- In the United States alone, one young competitive athlete dies every three days from an unrecognized cardiovascular disorder.
- Data estimates that 1 in 50 high schools has a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (in a student or older person) on school grounds each year.
Not to Miss!
- Unexplained seizures or syncope (fainting) can be signs of an underlying heart condition that can cause sudden cardiac arrest. Consider cardiology first as differential diagnosis.
- Pediatric Sudden Cardiac Death Risk Assessment Form can be utilized for all youth and at any visit.
- Comprehensive symptom and family history questions can identify some youth at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
Key questions should explore the presence of:
- Palpitations, fainting dizziness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath and/or chest pain either during or after exercise
- Cardiovascular or undetermined sudden death of a close relative under the age of 50
- Unexplained seizures and/or syncope in immediate family members
Useful Resources and Information for you and your patients: