HealthDay News — Health-care providers working in pediatrics should be able to recognize the warning signs of patients with sudden cardiac arrest and be prepared to appropriately manage them, according to a new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement published online in Pediatrics.

Robert Campbell, MD, and colleagues from the AAP’s Section on Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, drafted the document on pediatric SCA in an effort to increase health-care providers’ knowledge of the incidence and spectrum of causes of SCA as well as disease-specific presentations, the role of screening and genetic testing, and aspects of secondary prevention.

The committee reported that approximately 2,000 patients younger than 25 will die of SCA each year, with some studies indicating an increase in SCA.

Continue Reading

“All steps in the primary and secondary SCA-prevention strategies should be optimized if pediatric SCA is to be prevented,” Campbell and colleagues wrote. 

The policy statement recommends that clinicians working in pediatrics should be able to:

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of SCA
  • Understand the role of a comprehensive and accurate family history
  • Administer standardized forms to pediatric patients before participation in sports to minimize variation
  • Refer patients and/or families with SCA to a specialist center for further evaluation and management

Secondary prevention may include electrocardiography, echocardiography, exercise testing and/or genetic testing, as necessary. Autopsy evaluation is recommended, and procurement and retention of DNA-bearing tissues is encouraged for autopsy-negative cases.

The committee also recommended that clinicians working in pediatrics support and consider participating in educational programs and the development of effective school emergency response programs. In addition, they should encourage development of a central registry for pediatric SCA, as well as recommendations for evidence-based evaluation of national screening programs.

One of the committee members disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery. “Policy Statement: Pediatric Sudeen Cardiac Arrest.” Pediatrics. 2012;doi:10.1542/peds.2012-0144