During a 6-year period 389 children and adolescents aged between 1 and 20 years died violently and 31 died suddenly, naturally, and unexpectedly in an area of southern Sweden. In about half of these 31 cases, death was caused by common infectious diseases--for example broncho-pneumonia, myocarditis, or acute epiglottiditis. In one group death was certainly sudden, but was caused by a known chronic disease--such as epilepsy or bronchial asthma. Three young men died from chronic heart disease, and one died from adrenal failure during or immediately after physical exertion. There were 4 cases of sudden, natural death for which the cause was unknown--that is 0.007 per 1000 live births. This figure is extremely low compared with the incidence of sudden unexplained infant death--that is deaths of infants aged between one week and one year.
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