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Early Hum Dev. 2009 Jul;85(7):455-9. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2009.04.001. Epub 2009 May 14.

Placental transfusion insult in the predisposition for SIDS: a mathematical study.

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Department of Aeronautics, Imperial College London, UK.


A difference has been observed between the newborn hearing screening tests of thirty-one SIDS cases versus control infants that survived the first year of life [Rubens DD, Vohr BV, Tucker R, O'Neil CA, Chung W. Newborn oto-acoustic emission hearing screening tests. Preliminary evidence for a marker of susceptibility to SIDS. Early Hum Dev 2008;84(4);225-9]. This study is motivated by the hypothesis that the predisposition for SIDS may be caused by inner ear and brainstem damage from a high venous pressure insult at birth that disrupts an infant's ability to detect rising CO(2) levels following the first month of life. The injury is not immediately lethal due to the persistence of fetal physiological responses during the early postnatal period [Guntheroth WG. Crib death, the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Armonk NY: Futura Publishing Co.; 1995. p. 291]. Elastic vessels are assumed in the umbilical vein and newborn venous circulation at the time of a potential high pressure placental transfusion insult and pulse wave propagation is simulated using the nonlinear one-dimensional equations of blood flow in elastic vessels. Peak pressures in the auricular veins increase with the amplitude and length of the umbilical surge, reaching over 60 mm Hg when two consecutive surges separated by 100 ms, of a peak pressure of 100 mm Hg, and a pulse interval of 200 ms are propagated in a network with low peripheral reflections. Our findings support the proposed mechanism for inner ear damage in SIDS and the potential benefit of a newborn hearing screening test in identifying susceptibility and early preventative measures following birth.

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