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Ann Emerg Med. 1987 Mar;16(3):284-92.

Epidemiology of pediatric prehospital care.


Very few studies about prehospital care of pediatric emergencies have been published. With new interest in emergency care of the pediatric population demonstrated by the development of Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Pediatric Life Support, it is imperative to have data that define the different types of problems encountered in the prehospital care setting and their outcomes. Prehospital assessment forms were reviewed retrospectively over a consecutive 12-month period beginning August 1, 1983. Patients under 19 years of age were studied in a service area with a population of 557,700. A total of 3,184 forms were analyzed, representing approximately 10% of all ambulance runs. This contrasts sharply with the fact that the pediatric age group represents 32% of the population. The major users were the youngest and the oldest of the pediatric population. Of the cases, 54.4% were in the trauma category. The largest trauma group was motor vehicle accidents in the adolescent age group. Male patients predominated in the trauma cases. Medical disorders were the major reason for prehospital care in the very young. The demand for emergency medical services (EMS) occurred mainly during the summer months and on weekends. More than 50 percent of all EMS pediatric cases occurred during the hours of 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Advanced life support was associated with prolonged on-scene time and had a relatively low use and success rate in the younger pediatric population. Resuscitation of 23 cases of pediatric prehospital arrest resulted in no survivors to hospital discharge. The appropriateness of prolonged time spent on scene (mean of 18.3 minutes in 1,196 cases) for prehospital pediatric emergencies requires further evaluation.

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