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Am J Med. 2000 Mar 6;108 Suppl 4a:144S-148S.

Sudden infant death syndrome: can gastroesophageal reflux cause sudden infant death?

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children's Hospital, Missouri, USA.


Although gastric contents in the airways and lungs of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) victims is commonly found during postmortem examination, its significance as a sole or contributory cause of death has long been controversial. Currently, most authorities view such aspiration as resulting from "agonal" processes and, therefore, irrelevant to cause of death. Recent clinical and experimental evidence indicates that infants who are near death because of a variety of conditions, frequently "autoresuscitate," which produces rapid and complete recovery. In animal models, aspiration of water or saline into the airways has been shown to prevent autoresuscitation. In light of these findings, aspiration of gastric contents should be reconsidered as a contributory cause of many SIDS deaths.

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