Incidence, causes, and outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in children. A comprehensive, prospective, population-based study in the Netherlands

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 May 3;57(18):1822-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2010.11.054.


Objectives: This study sought to determine comprehensively the incidence of pediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and its contribution to total pediatric mortality, the causes of pediatric OHCA, and the outcome of resuscitation of pediatric OHCA patients.

Background: There is a paucity of complete studies on incidence, causes, and outcomes of pediatric OHCA.

Methods: In this prospective, population-based study, OHCA victims younger than age 21 years in 1 province of the Netherlands were registered through both emergency medical services and coroners over a period of 4.3 years. Death certificate data on total pediatric mortality, survival status, and neurological outcome at hospital discharge also were obtained.

Results: With a total mortality of 923 during the study period and 233 victims of OHCA (including 221 who died and 12 who survived), OHCA caused 24% (221 of 923) of total pediatric mortality. Natural causes of OHCA amounted to 115 (49%) cases, with cardiac causes being most prevalent (n = 90, 39%). The incidence of pediatric OHCA was 9.0 per 100,000 pediatric person-years (95% confidence interval: 7.8 to 10.3), whereas the incidence of pediatric OHCA from cardiac causes was 3.2 (95% confidence interval: 2.5 to 3.9). Of 51 resuscitated patients, 12 (24%) survived; among survivors, 10 (83%) had a neurologically intact outcome.

Conclusions: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest accounts for a significant proportion of pediatric mortality, and cardiac causes are the most prevalent causes of OHCA. The vast majority of OHCA survivors have a neurologically intact outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases as Topic
  • Death Certificates
  • Defibrillators
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sports
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / epidemiology
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Young Adult