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Posted: 1354608650000
Classification: Query
I have a death certificate for a 14 month old that states the following: Cause of Death - 1) Oedema of Glottis which he had suffered from for two days 2) cardiac valvular disease and numerous local oedemas which he had suffered from since birth.

Would someone please be able to explain this is modern terms and provide a reason why this child might have had this condition from birth? Is it considered a birth defect or was it associated with some sort of illness, perhaps of the mother? I understand that Oedema is swelling associated with fluid.

I have tried googling but haven't found a satisfactory explanation.

Thanks, Jenny

Re: Oedema

Posted: 1354786303000
Classification: Query
You do not say the date of this death certificate but I think you must accept that it would be absolutely impossible for anyone to say exactly what was wrong. Diagnosis was, until comparatively recently, very primitive, simply due to lack of knowledge. Oedema is simply swelling caused by an accumlation of fluid and is a symptom, not a disease. It is one of the symptoms of heart disease (cardiac disease) but a modern diagnosis might be able to narrow down the actual fault more accurately. It is also a symptom in other medical conditions. The glottis is part of the throat and a swelling there could have been a f deformity or symptom of some illness. Heart problems were relatively common and in the past the parents would just be told the child was unlikely to survive childhood - today they would probably be operated on and live normally. Such things were often congenital but not necessarily to do with the mother being ill - and even if it were, the connection was not known. The fact that mothers who contract rubella (German measles) while pregnant can cause really serious problems for the child, while barely affecting the mother, was only discovered comparatively recently (last 50+ years I think) but you also have to take into account that many similar congenital conditions were not caused by the mother suffering from rubella. You will never know for sure - the child was born with some congenital condition from which it died - best just to accept it as written. Hope this helps.
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