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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2012 Jul-Sep;16(3):374-80. doi: 10.3109/10903127.2012.664247. Epub 2012 Mar 23.

Accuracy of paramedic Broselow tape use in the prehospital setting.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90509, USA.



The Broselow tape is widely used to rapidly estimate weight and facilitate proper medication dosing in pediatric patients.


We aimed to determine the accuracy of prehospital use of the Broselow tape.


We prospectively enrolled a consecutive sample of pediatric patients transported to the emergency department (ED) at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center from February 2008 to January 2009. Eligible subjects arrived via ambulance and were less than 145 cm tall, the upper limit of height for Broselow measurements. Subjects were excluded if they had a medical condition preventing proper measurement (e.g., contractures). Per Los Angeles County protocol, paramedics obtained a Broselow weight on all pediatric patients. The paramedic Broselow weight was compared with the ED Broselow weight and the ED scale weight, which was obtained unless mobilization was contraindicated. Accuracy was determined by assessing Bland-Altman plots and the Pearson correlation coefficient. As part of a sensitivity analysis, multiple imputation was used to account for missing data.


There were 572 subjects enrolled. The median age was 24 months (interquartile range [IQR] 10 to 49 months); 316 (55%) of the subjects were male. The weighted Cohen's kappa assessing agreement between the paramedic and ED Broselow colors was 0.74 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.68 to 0.79). The median difference between the paramedic Broselow weight and the scale weight was -0.10 kg (IQR -1.7 to 0.7). The accuracy of the paramedic Broselow weight when compared with the ED scale weight and the ED Broselow weight as defined by Pearson's correlation coefficient was 0.92 (95% CI 0.90 to 0.93) and 0.97 (95% CI 0.97 to 0.98), respectively. Multiple imputation for missing data did not alter the results.


Paramedic Broselow weight correlates well with scale weight and ED Broselow weight. Paramedics can use the Broselow tape to accurately determine weight for pediatric patients in the prehospital setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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