Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Do you know of a young child that has died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)? Have you heard of somebody who had a child die of SIDS? Chances are you have. Even though the U.S. Annual SIDS rate has been declining since 1980 there are still quite a few cases of SIDS. In 1997 Michigan alone reported 138 deaths due to SIDS.
What causes a baby to go to bed at night appearing perfectly healthy and be dead by the next morning? Nobody really knows what causes SIDS, but there are many hypotheses. One hypothesis is that defect cells in the infant's brain stem prevent the infant from detecting and responding to dangerously high levels of carbon dioxide in its system. Thus resulting in carbon dioxide poisoning "the silent killer".
Another hypothesis has to do with a prolonged QT interval. QT interval is the time between the heart's next beat also known as diastole.
A prolonged QT interval indicates that an abnormal heart rhythm may develop. The arrhythmia could possibly lead to death and sometimes leave no evidence for the cause of death.
Although SIDS can occur at any time from birth to about nine months it is most likely to happen between three and five months of age. SIDS also has been found to occur more often in males than females. Smoking during pregnancy has been found to increase an infant's risk for SIDS because of the exposure to tobacco. Researchers have found that children who have died of SIDS that were exposed to tobacco had a higher concentration of cotinine in their pericardial fluid than infant's that died of other causes. Cotinine is a chemical produced when the liver cleans the nicotine from the blood and metabolizes it. This proves...