Document Detail

Suffocation, recurrent apnea, and sudden infant death.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2391589     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
We reviewed the cases of 27 young children from 27 different families who were suffocated by their mothers. The certainty, or near certainty, of suffocation was based on reliable observation or recording of the suffocation, maternal confession, or successful prosecution in a criminal court. Eighteen of the children are alive, although one has severe brain damage; nine are dead. Twenty-four were reported to have had previous episodes of apnea, cyanosis, or seizure, and 11 had had 10 or more such episodes that were either invented or caused by the mother. Repetitive suffocation usually began between the ages of 1 and 3 months and continued until it was discovered, or the child died, 6 to 12 months later. The 27 children had 15 live elder siblings and 18 who had died suddenly and unexpectedly in early life; 13 of the dead siblings had had recurrent apnea, cyanosis, or seizures, and, although most of them at the time of death were certified as having sudden infant death syndrome, it is probable that some were suffocated. Repetitive suffocation has a characteristic clinical presentation that should allow identification before brain damage or death occurs. The characteristics should also allow the cause of death of some cases of sudden infant death to be established more accurately.
R Meadow
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of pediatrics     Volume:  117     ISSN:  0022-3476     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Pediatr.     Publication Date:  1990 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1990-10-03     Completed Date:  1990-10-03     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0375410     Medline TA:  J Pediatr     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  351-7     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, England.
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MeSH Terms
Apnea / complications*
Asphyxia / complications*
Cause of Death
Child Abuse / psychology*
Infant, Newborn
Medical Records
Mothers / psychology*
Sudden Infant Death / etiology*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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