Prognosis for Children in Cardiac Arrest Shortly After Blunt Cranial Trauma

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Background:The goal of this investigation is to determine the success rate of aggressive cardiorespiratory resuscitation in children who experience blunt cranial trauma of sufficient magnitude to quickly cause cardiac arrest.Methods:The records of all the children who, within a 6-year period, suffered cardiac arrest at the scene of injury, during transport or in the emergency department of a level one pediatric trauma center, as a consequence of blunt cranial trauma, form the basis of this study.Results:One of the 40 children who met the inclusion criteria survived. Their ages ranged from 1 month to 16 years, and all had a Glasgow Coma Score of 3 at the scene of injury. Forty-two percent were passengers in motor vehicles, and 32% were victims of nonaccidental trauma. Eleven of the 17 children in the motor vehicle crash were not properly restrained. Eleven of the unrestrained children plus two who were properly restrained were ejected at the time of impact. The average cardiopulmonary resuscitation time was 36 (2–107) minutes. A sinus rhythm was established in 50% but was not sustained in most. The sole survivor was an 8-year-old boy who was ejected and had asystole at the scene. At discharge, he was walking well but had cranial nerve deficits and learning disability.Conclusion:Survival in 40 consecutive children with documented cardiac arrest caused by blunt cranial trauma was 2.5%. This series, when combined with other published reports, is supportive of the position that aggressive resuscitation is rarely successful after 10 minutes and futile after 20 minutes.

    loading  Loading Related Articles