Objective.

To determine whether there was a correlation between the incidence of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) and the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) during the period 1970 to 1997 and to discuss different causative factors that could be influencing the changing trend in incidence.

Methods.

We compared the incidence of IHPS in the Stockholm Health Care Region with the incidence of SIDS in Sweden each year between 1970 and 1997. First, the relation was assessed by calculation of a correlation coefficient; second, the relative linear decrease was estimated for the time period 1990 to 1997.

Results.

The incidence of IHPS increased steadily during the 1970s, from 0.5 per 1000 live births in 1970 to 2.7 in 1979. During the 1980s, the average incidence was 2.8. During the 1990s, there was a significant decrease in the number of IHPS cases in Stockholm. The incidence rate of IHPS parallels the incidence of SIDS during the study period (r = 0.58). The incidence of SIDS dropped after the risk-reduction campaign in the beginning of the 1990s, which recommended that infants sleep on their back. We could not identify any other changes of behavioral risk factors in early exposures that could explain the temporal trends.

Conclusions.

The statistical findings suggest that IHPS and SIDS have causative factors in common. We suggest that prone sleeping is one of those factors.

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