How Accurate Are Pediatric Emergency Tapes? A Comparison of 4 Emergency Tapes With Different Length-Based Weight Categorization

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Abstract

Objective

Pediatric emergency tapes have been developed to support paramedics and emergency physicians when dosing drugs and selecting medical equipment in pediatric emergency situations. The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of 4 pediatric emergency tapes to correctly estimate patient's weight based on a large population of patients.

Methods

Patients undergoing general anesthesia between January 2012 and March 2015 with documented age, sex, body weight, and length were identified from the electronic anesthesia patient data management system of the Department of Anaesthesia, University Children's Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland. Weight estimation by means of the Broselow-Tape, the Pädiatrisches Notfalllineal, the Paulino System, and the Kinder-Sicher were compared with true patient's weight. Percentages of estimated body weight within a ±10% and ±20% interval were calculated. Data are median (interquartile range) or count (percent); statistical calculations were done with McNemar and Bonferroni correction.

Results

A total of 3307 patients were identified with complete data sets, 1930 (58.4%) were male, median age was 4.1 years (1.1–8.2 years), median length 101.0 cm (74.0–126.0 cm) and median patient weight 15.8 kg (9.2–25.0 kg). The proportion weight estimation within the ±10% and the ±20% interval was the highest in the Broselow-Tape with 54.0% and 81.5% (P < 0.001 and P = 0.003), followed by the Pädiatrisches Notfalllineal (50.5% and 79.8%), Paulino System (49.9% and 78.0%) and Kinder-Sicher (48.2% and 77.5%).

Conclusions

The overall accuracy of all 4 emergency tapes tested is poor and including a larger number of weight categories does not necessarily increase accuracy. Other strategies have to be developed to improve weight estimation in pediatric emergency situations.

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