Sudden cardiac arrest kills about 700,000 children and teenagers every year throughout the world. Many of these deaths can be avoided if parents and children identify the early warning symptoms of SCA and seek medical help before a crisis occurs.
Due to an irregularity in the heart’s electrical pulses, sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. This irregular rhythm can cause the heart to tremble rapidly (ventricular fibrillation) or cause the heart to stop beating altogether (atrial fibrillation).
When a child has a sudden cardiac arrest, he or she loses consciousness, stops breathing or gasps for air, and becomes unresponsive, possibly with shaking (seizure-like) activity. Within two to five minutes after the occurrence, CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) can save a life.
There are warning signs and symptoms present in up to half of all cases of sudden cardiac arrest. However, they are frequently overlooked or misunderstood. These signs and symptoms should be recognised by parents and children, and they should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they occur.
According to Cleveland Clinic, the following are warning symptoms of cardiac arrest.
1. Heart palpitations or a racing heart rate particularly during exertion, dizziness or lightheadedness may occur.
2. Unexplained fainting that started suddenly.
3. Fainting when excited, startled, exercising, or immediately following exercise.
4. Seizures that occur during or shortly after exercise.
5. Exercise-induced chest pain or discomfort during activity, excessive shortness of breath or extreme exhaustion.
Make an appointment with your paediatrician right away if your kid exhibits any of the warning indications of sudden cardiac arrest, or transport your child to an emergency room if the symptom has just occurred.
Ask your paediatrician for a referral to a paediatric cardiologist if your kid has any of the hereditary or lifestyle risk factors for SCA. The cardiologist can examine your child’s heart thoroughly and make recommendations for next measures, which could include regular monitoring, lifestyle changes, medication beginning, or other therapies.