Most children who experience an episode of sudden cardiac arrest have a hereditary heart defect or abnormality that triggers arrhythmias that cause sudden cardiac arrest. Many conditions that cause sudden cardiac arrest in children can be treated. Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has two clinics dedicated to treating children's heart rhythm abnormalities, the Pediatric and Adolescent Arrhythmia Clinic and the Long QT Syndrome/Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic. Treatment options include medication, medical devices, surgery and other procedures.
Mayo Clinic physicians and researchers have contributed to developing and advancing sudden cardiac arrest diagnosis and treatment options for children. Pediatric heart specialists advise families about the most appropriate treatment options to meet a child's needs. Recommendations are based on the underlying condition or disease that puts the child at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases that affect the heart muscle. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is one of the most common hereditary heart diseases and the most common cause of sudden death in children, especially young athletes. When a heart abnormality causes sudden cardiac arrest, it is usually triggered by activities such as participating in sports.
Mayo Clinic physicians also have made significant advancements to two surgeries to treat sudden cardiac arrest in children: videoscopic left cardiac sympathetic denervation surgery and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) surgery.
Videoscopic left cardiac sympathetic denervation surgery is used for patients with long QT syndrome, a condition that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest in children. Mayo physicians developed an updated video-assisted surgery for this condition that makes the surgery easier to perform and less invasive. This procedure replaces a microscope-assisted surgical technique.
ECMO is a surgical option used to preserve oxygen flow to the heart to revive children in sudden cardiac arrest when other options fail, as well as after heart surgery. Mayo Clinic doctors have established a dedicated team and precise protocol for this lifesaving surgery to maximize patients' brain function after surgery.
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