Study objective: Of all child visits to emergency departments, 1% to 5% involve critically ill children who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Numerous versions of pediatric equipment lists for EDs have been published. Despite these efforts, many EDs remain unprepared for pediatric emergencies. The objectives of this study were to assess the availability of pediatric resuscitation equipment items in Canadian hospital EDs and to identify risk factors for the unavailability of these items.
Methods: Using the updated database of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP), a questionnaire survey was sent to 737 Canadian hospital EDs with a maximum of 3 mailings to nonresponders. On-site visits to a selected subset of hospital EDs were completed to validate the results obtained by the mailed questionnaire.
Results: The response rate was 88.3% (650/737). Results showed the following overall equipment unavailability: intraosseous needle, 15.9%; pediatric drug dose guidelines, 6.6%; infant blood pressure cuff, 14.8%; pediatric defibrillator paddles, 10.5%; infant warming device, 59.4%; infant bag-valve-mask device, 3.5%; infant laryngoscope blade, 3.5%; 3-mm endotracheal tube, 2.5%; and pediatric pulse oximeter, 18.0%. Low percentage of pediatric visits, lack of an on-call pediatrician for the ED, and lack of a pediatric advanced life support-trained physician on staff were independently associated with equipment unavailability.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that essential pediatric resuscitation equipment is unavailable in a disturbingly high number of EDs across Canada and has identified several determinants of this unavailability.