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Pediatric Electrode Q & A

What is the Pediatric electrode?
The Pediatric electrode is intended for use with an AED on children up to 8 years of age or 25 kg (55 lb). The electrode reduces the energy dose that is delivered to the patient by a factor of four (4) by the use of an attenuator. If the AED is set up to deliver a dosage of 200, 300, 360J using adult defibrillation pads, the dose will be approximately 50, 75, 90J with the Pediatric electrodes.

How common is sudden cardiac arrest in children and adolescents?
7,000 to 10,000 young people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. In a 15-year study of non-hospital cardiac arrests in the U.S., 7 percent of victims were younger than 30 years old, and 3.7 percent were younger than age 8. Sudden cardiac death occurs in one out of every 200,000 high school students while playing sports every year.

What causes sudden cardiac arrest in young people?
There are three common causes: Long QT syndrome is an often unrecognized congenital condition that predisposes the child to an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system, sometimes resulting in cardiac arrest. This is a genetic disease that affects 1 in 7,000 young people. Episodes are most commonly triggered by physical exertion or emotional stress. Commotio cordis is an electrical disturbance caused by a blow to the chest. It occurs most often in baseball but has been reported in most other sports and other situations in which there is even minor impact to the chest. Researchers at the U.S. Commotio Cordis Registry studied 124 cases and found the average age is 14. Only 18 victims in the study (14 percent) survived; most of those who did survive were saved by prompt CPR and early defibrillation. Hypertropic cardiomyopathy is a congenital heart muscle disease. The walls of the heart’s left ventricle become abnormally thickened (hypertrophy). The structural abnormality can lead to obstruction of blood flow from the heart, causing loss of consciousness and irregular heartbeat, and leading to cardiac arrest. About 1 in 500 have this disease; many are unaware.

How is sudden cardiac arrest treated?
Sudden cardiac arrest is treatable most of the time, especially when due to an electrical abnormality called ventricular fibrillation. Treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to be effective, preferably within 3 to 5 minutes. Even the fastest emergency medical services may not be able to reach a victim that quickly. That’s why prompt action (CPR and use of an AED to deliver a shock that will eliminate the erratic electrical activity) is so important.

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