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Out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest in children with congenital heart defects


Aims Out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a rare but devastating event in children and adolescents. The risk is assumed to be higher in children with congenital heart defects (CHDs) than in healthy individuals. The aim of the present study was to investigate the rate of and survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in children 2–18 years old with CHDs.

Methods and results Data concerning all live births in Norway between 1994 and 2009 were retrieved from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway, the patient administrative systems at all hospitals in Norway, the Oslo University Hospital’s Clinical Registry for Congenital Heart Defects and the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry. Survivors were followed through 2012, and supplementary information for the deceased children was retrieved from medical records at Norwegian hospitals. Among the 943 871 live births in Norway from 1994 to 2009, 11 272 (1.2%) children had a CHD. We identified 11 (0.1%) children 2–18 years old with CHDs who experienced out-of-hospital SCA. The estimated rate of out-of-hospital SCA in children 2–18 years old with CHD was 10 per 100 000 person-years. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation was initiated in all patients. Three children survived.

Conclusions The incidence of and survival after out-of-hospital SCA in children with CHDs were comparable to the reported rates in the general child population.

  • cardiology
  • congenital heart defect
  • out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • survival

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