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Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2012 Sep;13(5):583-8. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e318238b272.

Personnel and unit factors impacting outcome after cardiac arrest in a dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.



To assess the impact of personnel and unit factors on outcome from cardiac arrest in a dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.


Retrospective medical record review.


Dedicated cardiac intensive care unit at a quaternary academic children's hospital.


Children and young adults who had cardiac arrest while cared for in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2008.




One hundred two index cardiac arrests over a 3-yr period in our pediatric cardiac intensive care unit were reviewed. We defined successful resuscitation as either return of spontaneous circulation or successful cannulation to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Differences in resuscitation rates were assessed across categorical systems variables using logistic regression. The rate of successful resuscitation was 84% (return of spontaneous circulation 74%, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation 10%). Survival to hospital discharge was 48% for patients who had a cardiac arrest. 11% of arrests during the week and 31% during weekends (odds ratio 3.8; 95% confidence interval 1.2-11.5) were not successfully resuscitated. Unsuccessful resuscitation was significantly more likely when the primary nurse had <1 yr of experience in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (50% <1 yr vs. 13% >1 yr; odds ratio 6.8; confidence interval 1.5-31.0). Cardiac arrest on a weekend day and <1-yr pediatric cardiac intensive care unit nursing experience were also associated with unsuccessful resuscitation in a multivariable model. Resuscitation outcomes were similar when senior intensive care unit attending physicians were on-call at the time of arrest compared with other intensive care unit staff (17% unsuccessful vs. 15%; odds ratio 1.2; confidence interval 0.4-3.7). Arrests where the attending physician was present at the onset resulted in unsuccessful resuscitation 18% of the time vs. 14% for events where the attending was not present (odds ratio 1.3; confidence interval 0.5-3.9).


Our data suggest that personnel and unit factors may impact outcome after cardiac arrest in a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. Weekend arrests and less experience of the primary nurse were risk factors for unsuccessful resuscitation. Neither presence at arrest onset nor experience of the attending cardiac intensivist was associated with outcome.

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