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Understanding and preventing Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in children and adolescents

June 4th, 2018 · Leave a Comment

It happens unexpectedly – a previously healthy student athlete dies from sudden cardiac death. The tragedy is often the result of an undiagnosed heart problem.

Understanding and preventing sudden cardiac death is an essential topic in pediatric medicine. The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) recently hosted a program, titled “The Future of Pediatric Practice Regional Glances,” in Jacksonville, Florida, on sudden cardiac deaths in adolescents. The FCAAP program speakers were pediatric cardiologist Jose Ettedgui, MD, medical director of the UF Health Pediatric Cardiovascular Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Michael Shillingford, MD, chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Wolfson Children’s.

“Sudden cardiac death occurs rarely among young athletes,” said Dr. Shillingford. “However, when sudden cardiac death happens in a young person, it is devastating to the teen’s family, friends, school and community.”

The program, presented to pediatricians and pediatric physician specialists from around the region, focused on cardiology and preventing SCD. Dr. Ettedgui and Dr. Shillingford discussed the importance of screening, treating and managing problems and preparing for the possibility of sudden cardiac death.

It’s also vital to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available with the presence of experienced medical personnel in public settings, they said. The use of an AED can lead to an improved outcome to victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

“Sudden cardiac death in young athletes may be preventable,” said Dr. Ettedgui. “Screening can help identify at-risk individuals.”

The congenital heart specialists at Wolfson Children’s Hospital have expertise in all pediatric congenital heart procedures, ranging from simple to highly complex. Whether it’s open-heart, minimally invasive or video-assisted surgery, its board-certified pediatric cardiologists, electrophysiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons use the most-advanced technology and techniques to repair congenital and rhythm-related heart defects.

Wolfson Children’s Hospital offers cardiology checkups, comprehensive testing and pediatric cardiology specialists at each of its outpatient specialty care locations, including Wolfson Children’s at Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick, Ga.; Wolfson Children’s at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare; and the Wolfson Children’s Specialty Centers in Daytona Beach, Fleming Island/Clay County and Lake City, Florida. Contact www.wolfsonchildrens.com/locations for more information.

Wolfson Children’s surgeons know which treatment is best for each child or teen’s situation and when it should be performed. The team uses advanced imaging techniques, including echocardiography, cardiac MRI and 3-D imaging, to help determine the right approach, resulting in some of the best pediatric heart surgery outcomes in the nation.

Services provided at Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville, Florida, are provided primarily by pediatric physician specialists with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, and the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

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