Airway dimensions in the sudden infant death syndrome

Elliot, John Gerard (1999) Airway dimensions in the sudden infant death syndrome. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


This thesis represents work which forms part of ongoing studies into infant mortality SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the major cause of death in infants during the first year of life. SIDS describes the sudden unexpected death of an apparently well infant. A SIDS diagnosis is one of exclusion, that is, death cannot be explained by history, circumstance or a specific pathological condition. The underlying pathophysiological mechanism resulting in death in SIDS is unknown. Although a number of abnormalities in several organ systems have been associated with SIDS, no specific diagnostic pathology has been identified. Epidemiological data suggests a range of environmental and physiological conditions are associated with an increased risk of death from SIDS. These include frothy fluid in the airways, nose and mouth, intrathoracic petechial haemorrhage, delayed dendritic spine maturation and delayed myelination of regions of the central nervous system and vagus nerves. The peak incidence of SIDS occurs between 6 to 11 weeks of life with 90% of SIDS deaths occurring by 6 months of age. Death is usually uncommon in the first 1 to 2 weeks of life. Ethnicity, low birth weight, short gestation, socioeconomic background, excessive clothing and bedding, reduced amount of breast feeding, a prone sleeping position, co-sleeping, a winter peak, maternal use of narcotics maternal cigarette smoking have all been associated with an increased risk of SIDS.

Additional Information

Master of Science

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1116 Medical Physiology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences
Keywords infant mortality, airway morphometry, respiratory organs, pulmonary pathology
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