Assessment of a Situation Awareness Quality Improvement Intervention to Reduce Cardiac Arrests in the PICU

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2022 Jan 1;23(1):4-12. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000002816.


Objectives: To use improved situation awareness to decrease cardiopulmonary resuscitation events by 25% over 18 months and demonstrate process and outcome sustainability.

Design: Structured quality improvement initiative.

Setting: Single-center, 35-bed quaternary-care PICU.

Patients: All patients admitted to the PICU from February 1, 2017, to December 31, 2020.

Interventions: Interventions targeted situation awareness and included bid safety huddles, bedside mitigation signs and huddles, smaller pod-based huddles, and an automated clinical decision support tool to identify high-risk patients.

Measurements and main results: The primary outcome metric, cardiopulmonary resuscitation event rate per 1,000 patient-days, decreased from a baseline of 3.1-1.5 cardiopulmonary resuscitation events per 1,000 patient-days or by 52%. The secondary outcome metric, mortality rate, decreased from a baseline of 6.6 deaths per 1,000 patient-days to 3.6 deaths per 1,000 patient-days. Process metrics included percent of clinical deterioration events predicted, which increased from 40% to 67%, and percent of high-risk patients with shared situation awareness, which increased from 43% to 71%. Balancing metrics included time spent in daily safety huddle, median 0.4 minutes per patient (interquartile range, 0.3-0.5), and a number needed to alert of 16 (95% CI, 14-25). Neither unit acuity as measured by Pediatric Risk of Mortality III scores nor the percent of deaths in patients with do-not-attempt resuscitation orders or electing withdrawal of life-sustaining technologies changed over time.

Conclusions: Interprofessional teams using shared situation awareness may reduce cardiopulmonary resuscitation events and, thereby, improve outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Child
  • Heart Arrest* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Quality Improvement