A prospective, population-based study of the demographics, epidemiology, management, and outcome of out-of-hospital pediatric cardiopulmonary arrest

Ann Emerg Med. 1999 Feb;33(2):174-84. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(99)70391-4.


Study objectives: To perform a population-based study addressing the demography, epidemiology, management, and outcome of out-of-hospital pediatric cardiopulmonary arrest (PCPA).

Methods: Prospective, population-based study of all children (17 years of age or younger) in a large urban municipality who were treated by EMS personnel for apneic, pulseless conditions. Data were collected prospectively for 3(1/2) years using a comprehensive data collection tool and on-line computerized database. Each child received standard pediatric advanced cardiac life support.

Results: During the 3(1/2)-year period, 300 children presented with PCPA (annual incidence of 19. 7/100,000 at risk). Of these, 60% (n=181) were male (P =.0003), and 54% (n=161) were patients 12 months of age or younger (152,500 at risk). Compared with the population at risk (32% black patients, 36% Hispanic patients, 26% white patients), a disproportionate number of arrests occurred in black children (51.6% versus 26.6% in Hispanics, and 17% in white children; P <.0001). Over 60% of all cases (n=181) occurred in the home with family members present, and yet those family members initiated basic CPR in only 31 (17%) of such cases. Only 33 (11%) of the total 300 PCPA cases had a return of spontaneous circulation, and 5 of the 6 discharged survivors had significant neurologic sequelae. Only 1 factor, endotracheal intubation, was correlated positively with return of spontaneous circulation (P =.032).

Conclusion: This population-based study underscores the need to investigate new therapeutic interventions for PCPA, as well as innovative strategies for improving the frequency of basic CPR for children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Heart Arrest / ethnology
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies