Thursday, 20 December 2012

SIDS: Sudden cardiac arrest: parents should be tested

Updated: December 5, 2012

Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or S-C-A is a condition, where the heart stops beating. Some people survive, most don't. A lot of us think that only adults can suffer from S-C-A, but children, teens, even babies, can die from it.  
The good news is that most of these conditions are detectable and treatable if caught early.

Darren and Phyllis Sudman had the perfect family life.  But it all came to a halt when their three-month-old son, Simon, was found dead in his crib.

The Sudman's pediatrician thought it was something more than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and recommended the Sudmans get tested.
"Go get your hearts checked because babies don't die. It's just not supposed to happen," says Darren Sudman, Simon's father.

What they found was shocking. Phyllis was diagnosed with a rare heart problem. Although she had had no symptoms, it was hereditary and was passed to Simon.  If he had been screened as a newborn, he could have been saved.  "Once I was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, it can easily be treated," Phyllis says.

So in honor of their son, the Sudmans started Simon's Fund, an organization that provides free heart screenings to any child in the Philadelphia area.
Doctors say those tests are important because sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer of student athletes and is responsible for up to 15% of all sudden infant deaths.
"Probably 20% of the children we see in the newborn period will have some irregularity of the heart," says pediatrician Dr. Steven Shapiro.

Simon's Fund has provided screenings for more than 5,500 children, one percent of them had some sort of defect.
"Every time we do a screening we are potentially preventing the devastation from happening again and again," Darren Sudman says.

(Elizabeth Corridan for CNN's Health Minute)

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