Pre-Hospital Administration of Epinephrine in Pediatric Patients With Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 Jan 21;75(2):194-204. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.10.052.


Background: There is little evidence about pre-hospital advanced life support including epinephrine administration for pediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs).

Objectives: This study aimed to assess the effect of pre-hospital epinephrine administration by emergency-medical-service (EMS) personnel for pediatric OHCA.

Methods: This nationwide population-based observational study in Japan enrolled pediatric patients age 8 to 17 years with OHCA between January 2007 and December 2016. Patients were sequentially matched with or without epinephrine during cardiac arrest using a risk-set matching based on time-dependent propensity score (probability of receiving epinephrine) calculated at each minute after initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation by EMS personnel. The primary endpoint was 1-month survival. Secondary endpoints were 1-month survival with favorable neurological outcome, defined as the cerebral performance category scale of 1 or 2, and pre-hospital return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC).

Results: During the study period, a total of 1,214,658 OHCA patients were registered, and 3,961 pediatric OHCAs were eligible for analyses. Of these, 306 (7.7%) patients received epinephrine and 3,655 (92.3%) did not receive epinephrine. After time-dependent propensity score-sequential matching, 608 patients were included in the matched cohort. In the matched cohort, there were no significant differences between the epinephrine and no epinephrine groups in 1-month survival (epinephrine: 10.2% [31 of 304] vs. no epinephrine: 7.9% [24 of 304]; risk ratio [RR]: 1.13 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.67 to 1.93]) and favorable neurological outcome (epinephrine: 3.6% [11 of 304] vs. no epinephrine: 2.6% [8 of 304]; RR: 1.56 [95% CI: 0.61 to 3.96]), whereas the epinephrine group had a higher likelihood of achieving pre-hospital ROSC (epinephrine: 11.2% [34 of 304] vs. no epinephrine: 3.3% [10 of 304]; RR: 3.17 [95% CI: 1.54 to 6.54]).

Conclusions: In this study, pre-hospital epinephrine administration was associated with ROSC, whereas there were no significant differences in 1-month survival and favorable neurological outcome between those with and without epinephrine.

Keywords: epinephrine; out-of-hospital cardiac arrest; pediatrics; time-dependent propensity score-sequential matching analysis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / diagnosis
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / drug therapy*
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Epinephrine