Purpose: Among pediatric patients, cardiopulmonary arrests account for a small, but important, percentage of responses by emergency medical services (EMS). EMS prehospital assessment of medical and traumatic arrests in the pediatric patient were compared with that of the Office of Medical Investigator (OMI) autopsy reports to assess differences and implications for EMS training and prevention in pediatric arrests.
Methods: Retrospective review of ambulance run forms from an urban EMS system with OMI autopsy correlation. Patients less than fifteen years of age and younger who were treated by prehospital personnel from November 1, 1990, to October 31, 1991, for a medical or traumatic arrest. Proportions were analyzed using chi-square analysis or Fisher's exact test and agreement was assessed using the Kappa statistic.
Results: Ambulance runs were reported for 2,586 pediatric patients. Of these, forty-two (1.6%) suffered arrests, with thirty-two (76%) medical arrests and ten (24%) traumatic arrests. Children one year of age or less accounted for 75% of the medical arrests while children greater that one year of age accounted for 80% of the traumatic arrests (p = 0.003). Overall mortality was 81%. When EMS prehospital assessment of medical and traumatic arrests were compared with OMI reports, there was good agreement (kappa = 0.70) for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but poor agreement (kappa = 0.37) for child abuse.