Despite the statistics obtained, SIDS remains to be an uncommon disease with the infant mortality rate considered low (Adams, Ward & Garcia, 2015).
SIDS (sudden infancy death syndrome)
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SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Couples have to wait nine months while their fetus grows into a tiny human being. As parents, there is nothing worse than waiting those nine months then losing the little one suddenly. When an infant dies unexpectedly, this is known as SUID, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. SUID consist of all infant deaths that occur because of an unknown cause, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS (NICHD, 2015). SIDS is one of the five leading causes of death in infants before the age of one. Approximately 3,500 of all infant deaths are sudden with no immediately obvious cause (NICHD, 2015).
In the medical field, SIDS may be referred to as “crib death or cot death” (NICHD, 2015). This is because SIDS is prevalent when a baby is sleeping, although sleeping is not a cause of SIDS. An infant who dies because of SIDS may be healthy and shows no signs health complications. The probability of a child dying is seen mostly within the first six months of a child’s life. A greater risk of death is on children who have been born with low birth weight or prematurely. African American, American Indian and Alaska Native infants are also at a greater risk of SIDS (NICHD, 2013). This syndrome is more likely to affect baby boys than baby girls. According to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom, approximately 300 babies die due to unexpected or sudden cause. Despite the statistics obtained, SIDS remains to be an uncommon disease with the infant mortality rate considered low (Adams, Ward & Garcia, 2015).
Risk Factors and Pathophysiology
There are various theories, which have been developed to try to describe the occurrence of SIDS. In 1994, there was literature, which proposed a triple-risk model. According to this particular model, three simultaneous factors are behind the cause of this particular condition. The first causative agent according to this model is that the infant should possess underlying vulnerability, which would likely predispose them to SIDS (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC. 2012). Stress should, also arise from a source that is exogenous for instance asphyxia which is directly related to defects associated with the sleeping position that a child adopts. Thirdly, the stress should arise and be experienced at a crucial developmental stage of the child such as during the first 12 months of the life of an infant. Current research studies have sort to determine and identify underlying vulnerabilities of this particular condition.
According to this study, there are two conditions which have been identified that would likely lead to the predisposition of sudden deaths. One of these conditions is data link disorders that can be inherited. These inherited disorders can be fatty acid oxidation which are mutations seen in the gene medium-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase. They may range from this abnormalities to infant death, which is unexpected, which makes up 1% of the SID cases. 5-10 % of the SID cases are consequently caused by genetic cardiac channelopathies. Various other factors exist that propel the spread of the SUID incidences and they include sleeping on armchairs and couches, bed-sharing especially the adult beds, being exposed to tobacco smoke, overheating, poor sleeping positions and covering a child’s face with blankets or clothing while they are asleep (Cressie, 2015). Other activities may protect this condition from occurring. These actors include regular immunizations, pacifiers and breastfeeding.
There are various topics currently being researched about the occurrence of this particular condition. These areas include autonomic nervous system disruptions and the effect of nicotine towards the development process of the brain. Normal arousal mechanism defects are a likely cause of the condition. There is a close association between SIDS and prone sleeping positions. In this particular instance, it becomes possible for an individual to rebreath exhaled air causing an upper-airway obstruction, which may also lead to hyperthermia when an individual adopts a facedown position (Degnan, 2013). Failure to know the appropriate infant head turning and head lifting with relation to asphyxia or neuronal reflexes and pathways deficit may result into inefficient protection and arousal originating from exogenous stressors.
How to prevent the occurrence of this condition and recommendations
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2011 released a policy statement that highlighted and touched on recommended safe environments for infant sleeping. These recommendations aimed at reducing not only the risk of suffering from SIDS but also prevention from all sleep-related deaths that affects infants up to the age of 12 months. These conditions include entrapment, asphyxia, and suffocation. These conditions are dependent on an individual’s medical condition after analysis of risks and benefits by a physician. Therefore, the following aspects are essential and fundamental in eradicating the condition (Horne, Hauck & Moon, 2015).