Cardiopulmonary resuscitation in children

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize current opinion and advances in pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation, including etiology, pathophysiology, rationale for interventions, and postresuscitation management.

Recent findings

Cardiac arrest and ventricular fibrillation in children are not as uncommon as previously reported. Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in 8–20 children/100 000/year, and in-hospital arrests occur in 2–6% admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit. Most pediatric arrests are precipitated by asphyxia or circulatory shock, but approximately 10% are precipitated by ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. In addition, greater than 1/4 of children with in-hospital cardiac arrests have ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation at some time during the event. After out-of-hospital arrests, approximately 10% survive to hospital discharge, whereas greater than 25% survive to discharge after in-hospital arrests. Appropriate interventions differ during the four phases of cardiac arrest: prearrest, no-flow, low-flow, and postresuscitation. Close monitoring and prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation can minimize the no-flow phase, good quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation is important during the low-flow phase, defibrillation is necessary for ventricular fibrillation, and aggressive supportive care is important during the postresuscitation phase.

Summary

Recent advances in our understanding of the etiology, pathophysiology, and therapies tied to the timing, phase, and duration of cardiac arrest can improve outcomes for children. New epidemiological data and multicenter studies are ushering in the era of evidence-based pediatric resuscitation therapeutics.

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