Accuracy of Postresuscitation Team Debriefings in a Pediatric Emergency Department

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Study objective:

Guideline committees recommend postresuscitation debriefings to improve performance. “Hot” postresuscitation debriefings occur immediately after the event and rely on team recall. We assessed the ability of resuscitation teams to recall their performance in team-based, hot debriefings in a pediatric emergency department (ED), using video review as the criterion standard. We hypothesized that debriefing accuracy will improve during the course of the study.


Resuscitation physician and nurse leaders cofacilitated debriefings after ED resuscitations involving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or intubation. Debriefing teams recorded their self-assessments of clinical performance measures with standardized debriefing forms. The debriefing form data were compared with actual performance measured by video review at 2 pediatric EDs over 22 months. CPR performance measures included time to automated external defibrillator pad placement, epinephrine administration timing, and compression pause timing. Intubation measures included occurrences of oxygen desaturation, number of intubation attempts, and use of end-tidal carbon dioxide monitoring.


We analyzed 100 resuscitations (14 cardiac arrests, 22 cardiac arrests with intubation, and 64 intubations). The accuracy of debriefing answers was 87%, increasing from 83% to 91% between the first and second halves of the study period (7.7% difference; 95% confidence interval 0.2% to 15%). Debriefings that acknowledged an error in certain performance measures (ie, automated external defibrillator pad placement delay, multiple intubation attempts, and occurrence of oxygen desaturation) had significantly worse performance in those specific measures on video review.


Teams in postresuscitation debriefings had a higher degree of debriefing answer accuracy in the final 50 debriefings than in the first 50. Teams also distinguished various degrees of resuscitation performance.

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