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Young athletes dying from sudden cardiac death is something seen in the media, but thankfully, it is a rare occurrence.  According to the Mayo Clinic, this type of death is rare and occurs in perhaps as few as one (1) in every fifty thousand (50,000) deaths attributable to cardiac deaths.  There are certain congenital heart abnormalities that appear in the majority of these deaths.

The most frequent causes of sudden cardiac death in younger, otherwise healthy appearing individuals is from the following:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – A condition in which the walls of the heart muscle thicken.  This can interfere with the heart’s electrical system;
  • Coronary Artery (Vessel) Abnormalities – These are usually situations where a congenital abnormality exists in how the vessels are connected leading to decreased efficiency or flow of blood within and around the heart;
  • Long QT Syndrome – A heart rhythm disorder that is usually inherited and which causes tachycardia (fast heart rate) or chaotic heart rhythms which do not allow the effective pumping of blood and oxygen through the body.

If your child is having any problems with abnormal heart rate, fainting or dizzy spells, a pediatrician should be promptly consulted for evaluation and cardiac causes should be considered. 

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