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Pinkish Froth and SIDS

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999

When our daughter was found dead 9 1/2 years ago there was a slight amount of pinkish froth around her nose. My wife and I tried to recall whether we noticed it before or after I attempted CPR (its hard remember with a lot of clarity). We had also been told it was not uncommon to find pinkish froth with SIDS victims.

You describe what I have heard very often from parents of SIDS victims, that is, "frothy fluid", "froth", "mucus", "like a runny nose", and often "pink" fluid was on my baby's nose or mouth. We have all seen cuts on our skin or bloody noses. Blood looks different and is described differently in all cultures and countries in my experience talking with people. SIDS parents have not described "blood" on the noses and mouths of their babies before any sort of intervention (and that is also a critical piece of this story, i.e., no intervention such as CPR to cause the local bleeding, at least to me). The "blood" arises locally while the froth and every other such description arises from the lung. It is the action of ventilation or breathing and the mixing of fluid, blood and air in the distal airspaces of the lung that creates the froth and the failure of the hear which brings it from the lung to the nose and mouth.

Hope this helps.

Henry Krous 
hkrous@rchsd.org
 

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