Assessment of termination of trauma resuscitation guidelines: are children small adults?

J Pediatr Surg. 2010 May;45(5):903-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2010.02.014.


Background: Guidelines for termination of resuscitation in prehospital traumatic cardiopulmonary arrest (TCPA) have recently been published for adults. Clinical criteria for termination of care include absent pulse, unorganized electrocardiogram (ECG), fixed pupils (all at the scene), and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) greater than 15 minutes. The goal of this study was to evaluate these guidelines in a pediatric trauma population.

Methods: Pediatric trauma patients with documented arrest were included in the study. Data assessed were duration of CPR, ECG rhythm, pulse assessment, pupil response, transport times, and standard injury criteria (eg, mechanism of injury). Survivors were compared to nonsurvivors using descriptive statistics, chi(2), and Pearson correlation.

Results: Between 2000 and 2009, 30 patients were identified as having had a TCPA. Of the 30 with a prehospital TCPA, there were 9 females and 21 males (0.2-18 years old). The average (SD) injury severity score was 35.4 (20.6). Twenty-four patients (80%) did not survive. Severe traumatic brain injury was associated with nonsurvivors in 78%. One-way analysis of variances demonstrated that CPR greater than 15 minutes (P = .011) and fixed pupils (P = .022) were significant variables to distinguish between survivors and nonsurvivors, whereas ECG rhythm (P = .34) and absent pulse (P = .056) did not, 42 +/- 28 minutes for nonsurvivors and 7 +/- 3 minutes for survivors.

Conclusion: Criteria for termination of resuscitation correctly predicted 100% of those who died when all the criteria were met. More importantly, no survivors would have had resuscitation stopped. Duration of CPR seems to be a strong predictor of mortality in this study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Medical Futility*
  • Michigan
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*