This multicenter study aimed to describe peri-intubation cardiac arrest in paediatric cardiac patients with significant (moderate or severe) systolic dysfunction of the systemic ventricle. Intubation data were collected from 4 paediatric cardiac ICUs in the United States (January 2015 – December 2017). Clinician practices during intubation of patients with significant dysfunction were compared to practices during intubation of patients without significant systolic dysfunction. There were 67 intubations in patients with significant systolic dysfunction. Peri-intubation cardiac arrest rate in this population was 14.9% (10/67); peri-intubation mortality was 3%. Majority (6/10; 60%) of the cardiac arrests were classified as pulseless electrical activity. Patients with cardiac arrest upon intubation had a higher serum lactate and lower serum pH than patients without peri-intubation cardiac arrest in the significant systolic dysfunction group.
In comparing cardiac ICU patients with significant systolic dysfunction (n = 67) to patients from the same time period with normal ventricular function or mild dysfunction (n = 183), clinicians were less likely to use midazolam (11.9% versus 25.1%; p = 0.03) and more likely to use etomidate (16.4% versus 4.4%; p = 0.002) for intubation. Use of other sedative agents, video laryngoscopy, atropine, inotrope initiation, and consultation of an anaesthesiologist for intubation were not statistically different between the groups.
This is the first study to describe the rate of and risk factors for peri-intubation cardiac arrest in paediatric cardiac ICU patients with systolic dysfunction. There was a higher peri-intubation cardiac arrest rate compared to published rates in critically ill children with heart disease and compared to children with significant systolic dysfunction undergoing elective general anaesthesia.