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adolescent, child, defibrillator, sports participation, sudden cardiac death



  1. Zeigler, Vicki L. PhD, RN
  2. Payne, Linda BSN, RN


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in children and adolescents is an uncommon event, yet it is devastating to families who lose a child so suddenly and unexpectedly. Sudden cardiac death in adults is primarily caused by coronary artery disease; however, SCD in the young is due to different etiologies. This article presents the following etiologies associated with SCD in the young: structural and functional abnormalities, primary electrical diseases also known as channelopathies, and a lesser-known cause, that is, commotio cordis. Prevention and treatment strategies to be discussed include noninvasive testing for risk stratification, screening for competitive athletes, genetic testing, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, automated external defibrillators, and patient advocacy. Nursing implications will include guidance for patient and family education, recommendations for sports participation, and forging partnerships with communities.