Understanding and Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in Children and Adolescents

By: Wolfson Children's
 
 
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Wolfson Children's Hospital
Michael Shillingford, MD
Mac Vining, MD

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Health

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Tallahassee - Florida - US

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Sept. 25, 2018 - PRLog -- It happens unexpectedly – a previously healthy student athlete dies from sudden cardiac death (SCD). The tragedy is often the result of an undiagnosed heart problem.

"Sudden death in young people is rare, and many times stems from undiscovered heart defects or overlooked heart abnormalities," said pediatric cardiologist Justin M. "Mac" Vining, MD, Wolfson Children's Specialty Services at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. "When these sudden deaths occur, it's often during physical activity, such as playing a sport. While millions of student athletes compete without incident, it's important to talk to your doctor about precautions you can take."

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," on sudden cardiac deaths in adolescents featuring insight from 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.

"When sudden cardiac death happens in a young person, it is devastating to the teen's family, friends, school and community," said Dr. Shillingford.

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) readily available in public settings, along with experienced medical personnel on-site, they said. The use of an AED can lead to an improved outcome for victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

"Sudden cardiac death in young athletes may be preventable," noted 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 performing open-heart, minimally invasive or video-assisted surgery, Wolfson Children's 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 Tallahassee Memorial specialty center offers access to high-quality pediatric cardiology care through a unique family-focused affiliation between Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Wolfson Children's Hospital of Jacksonville, in collaboration with Tallahassee Primary Care Associates. Visit TMH.ORG/Children (https://www.tmh.org/services/children?utm_source=www.tmh....) 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 (http://www.hscj.ufl.edu/medicine/).
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