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A report from Ohio doctors documenting nine cases over 11 years in kids as young as 12 says heart attacks in children are a rare but under-recognized problem.

Dan Meter was among nine children included in a report by Drs. John Lane and Giora Ben-Shachar at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio. All were stricken between 1995 and 2006 and most were treated at the Akron hospital. Lane treated a few of the earlier patients when he was at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

All lacked common risk factors for heart problems, such as obesity, family history, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and drug abuse.

The cause of their heart attacks was most likely a heart spasm that briefly cut off blood supply, Lane said. It is also a rare cause of heart attacks in adults.

All but one of Lane’s patients were boys. Doctors are uncertain whether girls face a lower risk because there’s little in medical literature about this type of heart attack.

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