Clinical and Electroencephalographic Correlates in Pediatric Cardiac Arrest: Experience at a Tertiary Care Center

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Pediatric cardiac arrest is a significant cause of death and neurologic disability; however, there is a paucity of literature specifically evaluating the utility of prognostic factors in the pediatric population. This retrospective chart review examines clinical, laboratory, and electroencephalographic (EEG) data in children following cardiopulmonary arrest to better characterize findings that may inform prognosis. Pre-arrest clinical characteristics, resuscitation details, and post-arrest hospital course variables were analyzed and neurologic outcome was determined using the Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category scale. Forty-one patients were identified who had cardiac arrest from March, 2011 to January, 2015. Duration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (p = 0.013), out-of-hospital arrest (p = 0.005), arterial pH (0.014), arterial lactate (0.004), lack of pupil reactivity to light (p < 0.001), absent motor response to noxious stimuli (p < 0.001), and absent brainstem reflexes (p < 0.001) were all predictors of poor neurologic outcome. EEG background suppression (p = 0.005) was associated with poor outcome. Nine patients had electrographically recorded seizures, which began up to 1 week following cardiac arrest. Two patients (4.9%) experienced post-anoxic myoclonic status epilepticus and both had a poor outcome.

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