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Sudden Cardiac Deaths in Young People

The death of a child is always a shocking event, but perhaps even more so when a young person dies abruptly and unexpectedly. When a previously healthy child dies because their heart suddenly stops, parents are bound to have questions about “why.”  The federal government defines sudden cardiac death as follows: “The heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.” Medical websites make a distinction between sudden cardiac deaths and heart attacks, characterizing the former as an electrical “short-circuit” rather than a problem with circulation. Just what is causing the “short-circuits” has stumped many researchers, who say that identifying the “elusive” causes of sudden cardiac arrest or death in young people is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Ohio doctors who studied the nonfatal occurrence of heart spasms in male adolescents professed that they remained “uncertain” of the cause after finding that none had a family history of heart problems or any other cardiac risk factors.  Read more...

 

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