Pediatric Cardiac Emergencies

Posted by e-Medical PPT Friday, June 11, 2010
True cardiac emergencies in children are rare compared with the adult population. Cardiac diseases in infancy and childhood may be acquired or congenital. Acquired cardiac disorders, such as cardiac tamponade, usually evolve acutely, and result in sudden alterations in cardiac physiology that may lead to rapid deterioration. Although 0.8% to 1% of infants have congenital heart disease, most are stable and do not present with acute decompensation in the perinatal period.


Supraventricular tachycardia is by far the most common emergently presenting arrhythmia in the pediatric population. Unstable patients require immediate intravenous adenosine or synchronized cardioversion. Complete heart block is rare, but it can lead to congestive heart failure and occasionally to cardiovascular collapse and sudden death. Emergency treatment of complete heart block includes pharmacologic support and temporary or permanent pacemaker placement as indicated. In infants, congestive heart failure usually is related to congenital heart disease, whereas in older children, it tends to be secondary to an acquired cause.
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