Sudden Cardiac Arrest Can Occur In Kids

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Jill was a normal, active young girl whose life ended way too soon. She was ecstatic about being selected to be on her school’s cheerleading squad. One day at cheerleading practice, she collapsed and died instantly. The autopsy revealed that she had a heart abnormality that had never been detected. Needless to say, this was a tremendous shock to her family and friends (story by An AED equipped with pediatric pads could have potentially saved Jill’s life.

Pediatric defibrillator pads are smaller than adult pads, so that they fit better to a child’s stature, but the biggest difference is the energy delivery. Depending on the AED, adult dosage may start at 120 joules of energy and can go as high as 360 joules. When in pediatric mode, the AED will reduce the energy delivered to between 50 and 90 joules. The reduction in the energy delivered is activated when the pediatric pads are connected to the AED device.

The causes of SCA and death in young people vary, including genetic diseases or random episodes are most commonly triggered by physical exertion or emotional stress. Commotio cordis is an electrical disturbance cases by a blow to the chest. It occurs most often in baseball, but has been reported in other sports and situations in which there is a blow to the chest. Hypertropic cardiomyopathy is a congenital heart muscle disease. The walls of the heart’s left ventricle become abnormally thickened (hypertrophy).

Since children are smaller and their bodies have less mass than an adult, they don’t require as much energy to resuscitate. By decreasing the energy delivered, the AED is applying therapy more appropriate for a child’s size. It’s estimated that 6-8,000 deaths result from SCA in the young on an annual basis. Every AED owner should be prepared by having pediatric pads on hand with their device. Even though SCA is rare in children, pediatric pads can prevent a traumatic event like Jill’s.


Courtney Ebejay
Intercompany Sales Support Executive

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