Can critical care transport be safely reduced in children intubated during emergency management of status epilepticus in the United Kingdom: a national audit with case-control analysis

Arch Dis Child. 2024 May 17;109(6):476-481. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2023-326320.


Objective: This study describes the baseline clinical characteristics, predictors of successful extubation at referring hospitals and short-term outcomes of children intubated for status epilepticus and referred to United Kingdom (UK) paediatric critical care transport teams (PCCTs).

Design: Multicentre audit with case-control analysis, conducted between 1 September 2018 and 1 September 2020.

Setting: This study involved 10 UK PCCTs.

Patients: Children over 1 month of age intubated during emergency management for status epilepticus (SE), referred to UK PCCTs. Patients with trauma, requiring time-critical neurosurgical intervention or those with a tracheostomy were excluded.

Interventions: No interventions were implemented.

Measurements and main results: Out of the 1622 referrals for SE, 1136 (70%) were intubated at referral. The median age was 3 years (IQR 1.25-6.54 years). Among the intubated children, 396 (34.8%) were extubated locally by the referring team, with 19 (4.8%) requiring reintubation. Therefore, the overall rate of successful extubation was 33% (377/1136). There was significant variation between PCCTs, with local extubation rates ranging from 2% to 74%. Multivariable analyses showed region/PCCT, contributing diagnosis, acute changes on CT, preceding encephalopathy and type of continuous sedation (midazolam) used postintubation were significantly associated with transfer to a critical care unit.

Conclusion: This study highlights wide regional variation in early extubation practices. Regions with high successful extubation rates have established extubation guidelines from PCCTs. Successful extubation represents critical care transports that have been avoided.

Keywords: Intensive Care Units, Paediatric; Neurology; Paediatric Emergency Medicine; Paediatrics.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Airway Extubation / methods
  • Airway Extubation / statistics & numerical data
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Care* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intubation, Intratracheal* / methods
  • Intubation, Intratracheal* / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Status Epilepticus* / therapy
  • Transportation of Patients / methods
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data
  • United Kingdom