Incidence, Causes, and Survival Trends From Cardiovascular-Related Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Children and Young Adults 0 to 35 Years of Age: A 30-Year Review


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Abstract

Background—Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in children and young adults. This study determined the incidence, cause, and outcomes of cardiovascular-related out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in individuals <35 years of age.Methods and Results—A retrospective cohort of OHCA in children and young adults from 1980 through 2009 was identified from the King County (Washington) Division of Emergency Medical Services' Cardiac Arrest Database. Incidence was calculated from population census data and causes of arrest determined by review of autopsy reports and all available medical records. A total of 361 cases (26 cases 0–2 years of age, 30 cases 3–13 years of age, 60 cases 14–24 years of age, and 245 cases 25–35 years of age) of OHCA were treated by emergency medical services responders, for an overall incidence of 2.28 per 100 000 person-years (2.1 in those 0–2 years of age, 0.61 in those 3–13 years of age, 1.44 in those 14–24 years of age, and 4.40 in those 25–35 years of age). The most common causes of OHCA were congenital abnormalities in those 0 to 2 years of age (84.0%) and 3 to 13 years of age (21%), presumed primary arrhythmia in those 14 to 24 of age (23.5%), and coronary artery disease in those 25 to 35 years of age (42.9%). The overall survival rate was 26.9% (3.8% in those 0–2 years of age, 40.0% in those 3–13 years of age, 36.7% in those 14–24 years of age, and 27.8% in those 25–35 years of age). Survival increased throughout the study period from 13.0% in 1980 to 1989 to 40.2% in 2000 to 2009 (P<0.001).Conclusions—The incidence of OHCA in children and young adults is higher than previously reported, and a more specific understanding of the causes should guide future prevention programs. Survival trends support contemporary resuscitation protocols for OHCA in the young.

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