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Ann Emerg Med. 1995 Apr;25(4):484-91.

Out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation in children and adolescents: causes and outcomes.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To compare causes and outcomes of patients younger than 20 years with an initial rhythm of ventricular fibrillation versus asystole and pulseless electrical activity.

DESIGN:

Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING:

Urban/suburban prehospital system.

PARTICIPANTS:

Pulseless, nonbreathing patients less than 20 years who underwent out-of-hospital resuscitation. Patients with lividity or rigor mortis or who were less than 6 months old and died of sudden infant death syndrome were excluded.

RESULTS:

Ventricular fibrillation was the initial rhythm in 19% (29 of 157) of the cardiac arrests. Rhythm assessment was performed by the first responder in only 44% (69 of 157) of patients. All three rhythm groups were similar in age distribution, frequency of intubation (96%), and vascular access (92%); 93% of ventricular fibrillation patients were defibrillated. The causes of ventricular fibrillation were distributed evenly among medical illnesses, overdoses, drownings, and trauma, only two patients had congenital heart defects. Seventeen percent were discharged with no or mild disability, compared with 2% of asystole/pulseless electrical activity patients (P = .003).

CONCLUSION:

Ventricular fibrillation is not rare in child and adolescent prehospital cardiac arrest, and these patients have a better outcome than those with asystole or pulseless electrical activity. Earlier recognition and treatment of ventricular fibrillation might improve pediatric cardiac arrest survival rates.

PMID:
7710153
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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