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Resuscitation. 2003 Aug;58(2):131-8.

The epidemiology of cardiac arrest in children and young adults.

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Division of Cardiology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, S-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden.



To describe the epidemiology of children and young adults suffering from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.


All patients suffering from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in whom, resuscitation efforts were attempted in the community of Göteborg between 1980 and 2000.


Between 31 October 1980 and 31 October 2000, all consecutive cases of cardiac arrest in which the emergency medical service (EMS) system responded and attempted resuscitation were reported and followed-up to discharge from hospital.


Among 5505 cardiac arrests information on age was available in 5290 cases (96%). Of these 5290 cases 98 (2%) were children (age 0-17 years), 197 (4%) were young adults (age 18-35 years) and the remaining 4995 (94%) were adults (age >35 years). Children and young adults differed from adults by suffering from a witnessed arrest less frequently, being found by the ambulance crew in ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia less frequently and being judged as having an underlying cardiac aetiology less frequently. Of the children only 5% were discharged from hospital alive compared with 8% for young adults and 9% for adults. Among survivors the cerebral performance categories (CPC) score at discharge tended to differ with 38% of young adults registering a CPC score of 1 (no neurological deficit) compared with 52% among adults.


Children and young adults suffering from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest differed from adults in terms of aetiology and observed initial arrhythmia. Children had a particularly bad outcome whereas young adults had a similar outcome as adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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