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  PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 

Minerva Pediatrica 2009 April;61(2):141-62

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Recognition and initial management of cardiac emergencies in children

Hunt E. A. 1, 2, Brunetti 1, 2, Nelson K. L. 1, 2, Shilkofski N. A. 1, 2, Peddy S. B. 3, 4

1 Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD, USA 2 Department of Pediatrics Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD, US 3 Division of Cardiology Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Philadelphia, PA, USA 4 Department of Pediatrics Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Philadelphia, PA, USA


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One may have only minutes to change the trajectory of a child who is deteriorating from either congenital or acquired cardiac disease. However, these children may present with rather cryptic patterns of symptoms (e.g. failure to thrive, lethargy, colic, neonatal shock, respiratory distress, wheezing and syncope with exercise). Thus, it is essential that any health care practitioner who cares for children be familiar with key clinical presentations that require consideration of underlying cardiac disease and time sensitive diagnoses that require rapid recognition and therapy in order to optimize the chances of saving the child’s life. The objectives of this manuscript are: 1) to review the initial identification and management of cardiac emergencies in children; and 2) to present a brief summary of key cardiac diagnoses that may need to be considered when caring for children in an acute care setting.

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