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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Pallavi P. Patwari, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Center for Autonomic Medicine in Pediatrics (C.A.M.P.), Children's Memorial Hospital and Debra E. Weese-Mayer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Director, Center for Autonomic Medicine in Pediatrics (C.A.M.P.), Children's Memorial Hospital, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  • cot death
  • crib death
  • SIDS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant under the age of 1 year that remains unexplained after careful review of the history, death scene investigation, and thorough autopsy. In 2008, the most recent published data from the National Vital Statistics System indicated that SIDS was listed as the third leading cause of death in infants in the United States. Causes of SIDS are considered to be multifactorial. The triple risk hypothesis describes the presence of three risk factors that, when overlapping, predispose a baby to SIDS. These include an environmental trigger/stress, a critical developmental period, and an underlying vulnerability. Physician-scientists and scientists are studying neuropathological tissue and genetic material from SIDS victims to ascertain factors that might be responsible for heightening an infant’s vulnerability to SIDS. Others are performing physiologic studies on infants known to have an increased risk for SIDS. Basic scientists are studying animal models that might provide insight into mechanisms responsible for SIDS. Current clinical management targets improving education for families and caregivers regarding known modifiable environmental stressors (risk factors) (see below).

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Resources

Organizations:

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