Variability in SUID determinations

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) are two of the top five causes of infant mortality in the United States (Kim 2011). SUIDS as a cause of infant death is based on a determination of exclusion given when the investigation leads to unknown causes. Although SIDS is commonly linked to sleep related deaths, it can also be cited  when no other cause of death (CoD) can be established. These two determinations can be used by medical examiners when they have been unable to find a diagnosis in autopsy, laboratory
testing, or investigative information gathered. Even though death investigation guidelines exist (Shapiro-Mendoza 2017), each medical examiner has a different threshold/tolerance when making this determination, meaning they will go to varying lengths to establish a finding. With inconsistent reporting, research and tracking of SIDS and SUIDS death is difficult to carry out.
We seek to better understand what factors may influence investigators and medical examiners while determining the cause of infant deaths, particularly accidental suffocation, SIDS, and SUID. We aim that our findings will influence future strategies for promoting standardized practices for SIDS classification
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Abstract/Description: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) are two of the top five causes of infant mortality in the United States (Kim 2011). SUIDS as a cause of infant death is based on a determination of exclusion given when the investigation leads to unknown causes. Although SIDS is commonly linked to sleep related deaths, it can also be cited when no other cause of death (CoD) can be established. These two determinations can be used by medical examiners when they have been unable to find a diagnosis in autopsy, laboratory testing, or investigative information gathered. Even though death investigation guidelines exist (Shapiro-Mendoza 2017), each medical examiner has a different threshold/tolerance when making this determination, meaning they will go to varying lengths to establish a finding. With inconsistent reporting, research and tracking of SIDS and SUIDS death is difficult to carry out. We seek to better understand what factors may influence investigators and medical examiners while determining the cause of infant deaths, particularly accidental suffocation, SIDS, and SUID. We aim that our findings will influence future strategies for promoting standardized practices for SIDS classification
Subject(s): Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID)
Undergraduate Research
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Date Issued: 2021