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Open Access Research article

Sudden infant death syndrome: a re-examination of temporal trends

Sarka Lisonkova1*, Jennifer A Hutcheon1 and KS Joseph12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of British Columbia and the Women’s Hospital and Health Centre of British Columbia, Room E418B, 4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3 V4, Canada

2 School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2012, 12:59  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-59

Published: 29 June 2012

Abstract

Background

While the reduction in infants’ prone sleeping has led to a temporal decline in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), some aspects of this trend remain unexplained. We assessed whether changes in the gestational age distribution of births also contributed to the temporal reduction in SIDS.

Methods

SIDS patterns among singleton and twin births in the United States were analysed in 1995–96 and 2004–05. The temporal reduction in SIDS was partitioned using the Kitagawa decomposition method into reductions due to changes in the gestational age distribution and reductions due to changes in gestational age-specific SIDS rates. Both the traditional and the fetuses-at-risk models were used.

Results

SIDS rates declined with increasing gestation under the traditional perinatal model. Rates were higher at early gestation among singletons compared with twins, while the reverse was true at later gestation. Under the fetuses-at-risk model, SIDS rates increased with increasing gestation and twins had higher rates of SIDS than singletons at all gestational ages. Between 1995–96 and 2004–05, SIDS declined from 8.3 to 5.6 per 10,000 live births among singletons and from 14.2 to 10.6 per 10,000 live births among twins. Decomposition using the traditional model showed that the SIDS reduction among singletons and twins was entirely due to changes in the gestational age-specific SIDS rate. The fetuses-at-risk model attributed 45% of the SIDS reduction to changes in the gestational age distribution and 55% of the reduction to changes in gestational age-specific SIDS rates among singletons; among twins these proportions were 64% and 36%, respectively.

Conclusion

Changes in the gestational age distribution may have contributed to the recent temporal reduction in SIDS.

Keywords:
SIDS; Temporal trend; Gestational age