Feasibility and indicator outcomes using computerized clinical decision support in pediatric traumatic brain injury anesthesia care

Paediatr Anaesth. 2019 Mar;29(3):271-279. doi: 10.1111/pan.13580. Epub 2019 Feb 19.


Background: Traumatic brain injury anesthesia care is complex. The use of clinical decision support to improve pediatric trauma care has not been examined.

Aims: The aim of this study was to examine feasibility, reliability, and key performance indicators for traumatic brain injury anesthesia care using clinical decision support.

Methods: Clinical decision support was activated for patients under 19 years undergoing craniotomy for suspected traumatic brain injury. Anesthesia providers were prompted to adhere to process measures via on-screen alerts and notified in real time of abnormal monitor data or laboratory results (unwanted key performance indicator events). Process measures pertained to arterial line placement and blood gas draws, neuromuscular blockade, hypotension, anemia, coagulopathy, hyperglycemia, and intracranial hypertension. Unwanted key performance indicators were: hypotension, hypoxia, hypocarbia, hypercarbia, hypothermia, hyperthermia, anesthetic agent overdose; hypoxemia, coagulopathy, anemia, and hyperglycemia. Anesthesia records, vital signs, and alert logs were reviewed for 39 anesthetic cases (19 without clinical decision support and 20 with clinical decision support).

Results: Data from 35 patients aged 11 months to 17 years and 77% males were examined. Clinical decision support reliably identified 39/46 eligible anesthetic cases, with 85% sensitivity and 100% specificity, and was highly sensitive, detecting 89% of monitor key performance indicator events and 100% of reported lab key performance indicator events. There were no false positive alerts. Median event duration was lower in the "with clinical decision support" group for 4/7 key performance indicators. Second insult duration was lower for duration of hypocarbia (by 44%), hypotension (29%), hypothermia (12%), and hyperthermia (15%).

Conclusion: Use of clinical decision support in pediatric traumatic brain injury anesthesia care is feasible, reliable, and may have the potential to improve key performance indicator outcomes. This observational study suggests the possibility of clinical decision support as a strategy to reduce second insults and improve traumatic brain injury guideline adherence during pediatric anesthesia care.

Keywords: anesthesia care; clinical decision support; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia / methods*
  • Anesthesia / standards
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / surgery*
  • Child
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies