Syncope in the infant and newborn occurs as a loss of consciousness due to a variety of etiologies. Because syncope at this age may be a harbinger of sudden infant death, the symptom provokes anxiety and challenges clinicians to identify those babies with an increased risk for life threatening events. Recently introduced diagnostic tests and advances in molecular biology offer promising potential, but the population at risk remains unknown. Controversy surrounds: many potential risk factors; the value of home monitoring; and appropriate preventive and therapeutic strategies. This article reviews the differential diagnosis of syncope in children less than 18 months of age, with particular attention to those diagnoses and problems specific to the evaluation and treatment in this age group. Recommendations are presented for an efficient evaluation, which must include a careful history, complete physical examination and thorough investigation of the family history and home environment. In addition, specific diagnostic tests and a practical approach to treatment are suggested.
- Apparent life threatening event
- Sudden infant death syndrome