As a healthcare professional, it is important to be aware of current health trends and to know what issues you are most likely to face when treating patients. Accordingly, the American Heart Association (AHA) has released its updated report on youth and cardiovascular disease for 2012. Heart disease trends in children are highlighted in the report, which serves as a helpful reminder to anyone working within pediatric care. Here are five of the key findings regarding common heart problems in children that you should know.
Survival rate with use of defibrillator
In 2012, the survival to hospital discharge rate among children with EMS-treated, non-traumatic cardiac arrest was only 8.6 percent. However, in cases of bystander-witnessed ventricular fibrillation, the rate of survival to hospital discharge jumped to 62.5 percent. This finding emphasizes the importance of immediate emergency response in cases of cardiac arrest.
Cardiovascular defects in infants
According to the report, congenital cardiovascular defects were the most common cause of infant death resulting from birth defects in the United States for 2012. Nearly 24 percent of infants who died from a birth defect suffered from a heart condition at birth. However, the report from the AHA also notes that the rate of heart defect-related deaths among infants is continuing to decline over time.
Cardiomyopathy, a common heart problem in children
Data from 2012 has shown that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common inherited heart defect among children and adolescents, occurring in 1 of 500 individuals. In the United States alone, it is currently estimated that 500,000 people have HCM. Although it is one of the more common heart problems in children and adolescents, most individuals are unaware of the fact that they have this condition, which puts them at higher risk for sudden cardiac death.
Rate of sudden deaths among athletes
According to the report, a majority of sudden deaths in athletes were attributable to cardiovascular disease, at nearly 56 percent of all occurrences. More than 80 percent (82 percent) of cardiovascular deaths among athletes occurred with physical exertion during competition or training. A majority of cardiovascular deaths among athletes occurred in males, while only 11 percent occurred in females. However the proportion of females has increased over time.
Inactivity among children
The report released by the AHA showed that 23.1 percent of adolescents reported they had been inactive during the previous seven days, meaning they did not participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity in any one of the seven days prior to the collection of the data. For the purpose of the report, physical activity was defined as any activity that increased the individual’s heart rate. This finding is a concern, as inactivity can lead an individual to become overweight and/or obese, which can lead to heart problems and other health issues down the line.
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