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Cardiac » Cardiac Surgery

Can You Save Your Teenager from Sudden Cardiac Death?

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Sudden cardiac deaths are a matter of grave concern for parents of teenagers. Undiscovered heart defects, cardiac abnormalities that were overlooked, and the recent spotlight on deaths of young athletes because of a sudden cardiac event are more than merely unsettling.

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A diagnosis may give your child a chance at recovery, even if it’s through pediatric cardiac surgery. But catching cardiac issues, especially the well-veiled ones, in a young adult isn’t easy since the causes, and thus the symptoms, vary.

Causes of Cardiac Abnormalities in Young Adults

When the heart starts beating out of its rhythm, the event is called ventricular fibrillation. The cause of such an occurrence in young people is unclear, mostly because a heart abnormality is an instantaneously visible episode. It’s hard to know beforehand if an accidental football to the chest will cause the heart to beat erratically and become fatal.

However, upon investigation, following causes are found behind a section of cases of sudden cardiac failure.

Coronary Artery Abnormalities

It’s a congenital disability where the heart’s arteries are connected abnormally with each other. During an intense activity that requires the heart to work overtime, this fault could cause the arteries to get compressed. If that happens, blood flow to the heart will get disrupted, causing sudden cardiac arrest.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

HCM an inherited defect where the heart’s walls thicken, stiffen, and enlarge. They disrupt the electrical impulse system of the organ. It develops into irregular, and unusually fast heartbeats, defined by a condition called arrhythmias and can cause cardiac arrest followed by death in a matter of seconds.

Long QT Syndrome

It’s a heart rhythm disorder which leads to quick heartbeats in a disorderly manner. It’s inherited and can cause fainting spells in its initial episodes. It drastically increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

How to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death in Teenagers?

HCM, as well as a few other common causes of abrupt cardiac seizure, are all inherited. If your family has a history of similar conditions, you must have your child checked out. Also, in such a case, you’ll have to be extra careful of the warning signs that your kid may be going through.

Has your child ever talked about any of the following symptoms? Have you noticed any of these symptoms in them?

  • Fainting for no apparent reason
  • Racing heart
  • Short breath
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Constant fatigue after little exertion

If you have HCM, or you know of a relative (aunt, uncle, sibling, grandparents on either side, cousins, etc.) who died of a heart condition, tell your pediatrician all about it. If you spot any signs, request an EKG. Consult a pediatric cardiologist.

Keep a strict eye on your child and compare his/her activities with other kids to get an idea of how easily they get tired, or how well they are feeling on the field. Before your child can join a sport, you must get your pediatrician to look at the paperwork for Sports Physical, order all tests, and get a precise evaluation of his/her health.

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