What is SUDC and FAQ's

SUDC is Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood

What is SUDC?

Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) occurs in children over the age of twelve months. The cause of death remains unexplained after thorough case investigation including: examination of the death scene, performance of a complete autopsy, and a review of the child's and family's medical history. SUDC is a diagnosis of exclusion given when all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out.

Stella Xmas 2013, Stella's cause of death is unknown and considered SUDC

What causes SUDC?

By definition, the cause(s) of death in these children is unknown. The diagnosis can be made only after thorough review of the medical history of the child and its family, evaluation of the scene where the child was found lifeless, and postmortem examination. This must include microscopic examination of the tissues, toxicology and metabolic analyses. Comprehensive postmortem evaluation may allow identification of known causes of sudden unexpected death in childhood, in which case a diagnosis of SUDC is not made.

Can SUDC be prevented?

At the present time, there is no way to prevent SUDC as its cause(s) is not known. It is hoped that future research will identify means by which SUDC can be prevented. If and when risk factors are identified, such as prone sleep position for SIDS, then one might anticipate reduction in the risk of SUDC. In the meantime,follow optimal pediatric care recommendations, including attending well child visits, maintaining current vaccinations, and obtaining appropriate health care when clinically indicated.

Is SUDC inherited?

This is a difficult, if not impossible question to answer at this time. There is so little known and published about the sudden death of children beyond one year of age. The current medical literature seems to indicate that in the majority of cases there may not be an increased risk of the subsequent child dying. But much research needs to be done to establish the true risk for subsequent siblings.

There are inherited or genetic disorders that can cause sudden death; this is one of the reasons that comprehensive postmortem examination is very important. By identifying the disorders, appropriate pregnancy counseling and medical management of subsequently born children can be undertaken.

I've never heard of SUDC, is it new?

SUDC is not new, but it is very rare. Sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) is rare, with a reported incidence in the United States of 1.3 deaths per 100,000 children, compared to 57 deaths per 100,000 live births for SIDS in 2002. It is not surprisingly, therefore, that there is very little known in the medical literature about SUDC.

Can SUDC be predicted?

No. At the present time, SUDC cannot be predicted. Since these children appear to be healthy, there is no obvious reason to have any testing done. And, health care providers would not know what, if any testing would be appropriate.

Information provided by www.sudc.org
FAQ Answers by: Dr. Henry Krous
Director of Pathology
Children's Hospital-San Diego
Prof. of Pathology & Pediatrics
University of California
San Diego School of Medicine
Former Dir. of San Diego SIDS/SUDCResearch Project

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