Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Explained


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There is a surgical procedure to address nearly every ache, pain and condition we experience. From removing the appendix to putting tubes in the ears, our children are having surgery more frequently than ever before. The truth is that these types of procedures are curing minor issues and also addressing the major illnesses that today’s children are facing. However, even with all of the medical advancements that have been made, danger still exists.

As the parent of a pediatric patient, surgery on a child can be an emotional and overwhelming process. It is only normal and natural to be concerned about your child undergoing a surgical procedure. Even though there are numerous successful surgeries performed each day, there are still plenty of patients who face unfortunate outcomes. One possibility is your child going into cardiac arrest during the procedure.

An Overview Of Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is a condition where the heart’s electrical system malfunctions unexpectedly. To put it simply, the heart suddenly stops beating. This can occur instantly during a surgical procedure, or it may hit a patient shortly after symptoms begin to appear. During an incidence of cardiac arrest, the pumping of the heart is disturbed, which begins to deplete the blood flow and oxygen levels throughout the body.

Some of the general risk factors for cardiac arrest include:

  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats)
  • Congenital heart conditions
  • Heart disease
  • Heart medications
  • Blood vessel abnormalities
  • Scarred or enlarged heart
  • Prior heart attack
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
  • Abnormalities in the heart’s electrical system

The Frequency Of Cardiac Arrest In Children

One of the most notorious incidences of cardiac arrest occurred just a few years ago. In August 2014, Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest at a New York medical clinic during an outpatient endoscopy procedure. The 81-year-old celebrity passed away just a few days later. While there is obviously a significant age difference between Joan Rivers and young individuals, elderly patients and children face many of the same vulnerabilities.

In fact, according to a 2010 medical publication, approximately 16,000 pediatric patients suffer from cardiac arrest each year. If your child had one or more of the risk factors mentioned above, then it may be clear to see how he or she ended up experiencing this devastating condition. Unfortunately, this information does not make it any easier to handle the potential side effects. In pediatric patients who survive cardiac arrest, impaired consciousness and brain damage are typically seen. In worst case scenarios, cardiac arrest also has the potential to result in mortality.

Steps To Take After Your Child’s Cardiac Arrest

Even though you were fully aware of the risks associated with your child’s surgical procedure, nothing could truly prepare you for what you would experience if the possibility of cardiac arrest became a reality. If you are dealing with this today, we are here to help.

While nothing will change what has already been done, you can do your part to ensure that your child received the best care possible. Was a thorough medical history taken before your child’s surgery? Was the entire medical staff aware of any conditions or problems your child was facing? Was all of the hospital equipment working properly? Did the medical team in the operating room respond properly once the cardiac arrest began?

Let our team of doctors and lawyers work with you to determine if your child’s cardiac arrest could have been prevented or treated more efficiently. Contact us today. You owe it to yourself and your child to rule out any possibility of medical malpractice.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.