Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 2

Topics: Sudden infant death syndrome, Infant, Infant mortality Pages: 5 (1432 words) Published: June 6, 2010
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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Imagine a mother going to the baby’s room to kiss her infant good night, expecting to hear the gentle breathing of her infant, but all she hears is silence. Unrecognizable and often misunderstood, this silent killer is the foremost cause of death of infants in the United States. The deaths of infants each year from sudden infant death syndrome are greater than the number of deaths from; AIDS, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, heart disease, cancer, and muscular dystrophy combined (Bergman 24). Potential parents need to understand the suggested causes of this unexplained deadly condition; the emotional suffering of the family, counseling for the family, and help is available for coping with the loss of the infant. According to a 2005 study, completed by the American Pediatric Association, 2,230 SIDS deaths occurred among infants’ ages one month to 12 months. Definition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

SIDS is defined as the sudden, unexpected death of a healthy infant, and in which an autopsy fails to find an adequate cause of death (Willinger et al, 1991). Contrary to what some people believe, SIDS is not a new disease. Unexplained deaths of infants are recorded in the Bible. There are no warning signs that alert parents to the perils, and there is no known cause. Researchers and scientists do have a number of theories with good possibilities, which could be contributing factors in the death of the infant. The National SIDS Research center`s recent research shows; premature and low weight infants, and infants who sleep on their stomachs. Research and Theories

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is referred to as “disease of theories” (Bergman, 12). SIDS is unlike other diseases because we still do not have any knowledge about what causes this to happen to infants. We do know that this disease affects one to three infants per thousand born (NICHD, 2008). Many questions still remain, and only theories to try to answer them. Why does a well-nourished, normal, and well-developed infant die from SIDS? New research being performed suggests pathogenic elements may be responsible; accidental aspiration of gastric contents, an invasion of bacteria into the bloodstream, allergy to milk or another substance (Marlow, 1973). The exact cause of SIDS remains elusive, there seems to be multiple factors involved. For example; the infant must be pre-disposed to a biological susceptibility, such as an environmental stressor combined with a brain or heart defect, stomach sleeping, and be in a crucial growth period before SIDS can occur. The behavior and health of the mother plays a significant role also. This is known as the triple-risk threat; vulnerability, critical developmental period, and an outside stressor combined with the first six months of an infant’s life (The SIDS Network, 2008). Researchers conducting exhaustive investigation detected abnormalities in a part of the brain that controls’ breathing is likely to play a significant role in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Another suspicious symptom is a subtle electrical disturbance that causes extremely rapid heart rate, this is QT syndrome. In families that have a history of SIDS this can be checked with an electrocardiogram (ECG) and confirmed with genetic studies (Carl Hunt, M.D., Internet, 1997). Precautions

The American Pediatrics Association recommends the following list: * Do not lay baby on a soft surface, a “new” firm mattress with a tight fitted sheet is safer. * Lay baby on his/her side with a rolled-up towel along the babies back to keep him/her from rolling over, and the lower arm should be well forward. Never lay the infant on his/her stomach. Parents can buy special wedges that keep the baby from rolling onto the stomach. * Avoid thick blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or bumpers in the crib. * Never swaddle the baby with heavy blankets; never overheat...

References: American Academy of Pediatrics. “Changing Concepts of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Implications for Infant Sleeping Environment and Sleep Position.” (2000) AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS WEB SITE
Horchler J. N. and R.R. Morris. Hyattsville, MD: SIDS Educational Services. 199.
Hunt, Carl E., guest ed. “Apnea and SIDS” (special issue). Clinics in Perinatology 19, no. 4 (1992). Clinics in Perinatology - Home
Resource Center: Swaddling and SIDS
Resource Center: Bereavement Support
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