Do you know cardiac arrest can even occur in children? Yes, Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can occur in infants, children, and teenagers apart from adults. People usually confuse heart attack with sudden cardiac arrest. Though both attack the cardiac system, they occur due to different reasons. Cardiac arrest is when an individual’s heart stops working and stops pumping blood to the other organs which results in shortness of breath. Heart attack is when a particular artery is blocked and rejects blood flow. When this goes unnoticed, this may be fatal. Continue reading to know sudden cardiac arrest and common causes of cardiac arrest in a child.
Know about pediatric cardiac arrest
Though cardiac (cardiopulmonary) arrest is rare in children and infants, they can be of two types hypoxic-asphyxial arrest and sudden cardiac arrest. According to research, around 16,000 children across the globe suffer from cardiac arrest annually.
Child sudden cardiac arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest in children will abruptly stop their heart function. Though this occurs mostly in adults who are athletes, this can still occur to a child who has not been involved in any sports activity. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common cause of cardiac arrest in a child.
This is a very different condition where the heart muscles such as ventricles or lower heart chambers are grown out of size. It becomes difficult for the heart to pump blood due to the enlarged muscles. Most of the time, this goes undiagnosed due to rare symptoms. This is usually caused due to heredity. Below listed are some of the few common reported symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
- Experiencing chest pain during any physical activity
- Passing out after any physical activity
- Shortness of breath and breathing difficulty
- Rapid heartbeats
- Chest pain
Complications caused due to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- The over sized heart muscle will affect the electrical system of the heartbeat. People may experience irregular or fast heartbeats.
- In some cases, the heart muscle may become very thick which results in complete blockage of blood to the heart, pumps the blood less forcefully, and might cause blood leakage among the heart muscles.
Two types of cardiac arrest in children
- Ventricular Fibrillation (VF)
This is the most common type of cardiac arrest in children caused due to the irregular heart rhythm. This is a condition where the heart stops pumping blood to the rest of the body due to the malfunction of the lower heart chambers. Nausea, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and chest pain are some of the common symptoms of ventricular fibrillation. If left with no quick medical attention, this can be fatal.
- Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
This is a condition where the irregular heart rhythm causes blood clots in the heart. This increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other cardiovascular complications. This is caused due to the sync less beats between the upper chambers and lower chambers. Though this isn’t fatal or life threatening, this needs medical treatment to prevent medical complications like stroke and heart failure.
Cardiac arrest child symptoms
Some of the common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, and chest pain. It is always advisable to put your child under immediate medical care if you find your child undergoing any symptom.