Study objective: To determine the outcome of pediatric patients with prehospital cardiopulmonary arrest.
Design: Chart review of all patients with prehospital cardiopulmonary arrest who were subsequently admitted to a pediatric emergency department from January 1988 to January 1993. Cardiopulmonary arrest was considered to have been present if assisted ventilation and chest compressions were performed on an apneic, pulseless patient.
Setting: Pediatric ED.
Participants: Pediatric patients in prehospital cardiac arrest.
Results: In all, 95 patients were identified. Fifty-six had initial hospital care at the pediatric ED (primary patients). The remaining 39 were transported to the pediatric ED after initial care of another institution (secondary patients). Forty-one percent of patients were younger than 1 year. Most arrests were respiratory in origin; asystole was the most common dysrhythmia. Fifteen patients (27%) survived to discharge. Fourteen of the survivors had return of spontaneous circulation before ED arrival. Thirty-three patients were in arrest on ED arrival; in 16 (48%) of these, return of spontaneous circulation subsequently developed in the ED, and 1 survived to discharge. Two survivors, including the survivor with return of spontaneous circulation in the ED, had severe neurologic sequelae. Ten (26%) of the secondary patients survived. All survivors had return of spontaneous circulation before arrival in the ED. Two survivors had severe neurologic sequelae.
Conclusion: Most successfully resuscitated pediatric arrest victims are resuscitated in the prehospital setting and do not suffer severe neurologic injury. Most patients who present to the ED in continued arrest and survive to discharge have severe neurologic injury.