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Epidemiology and aetiology of paediatric traumatic cardiac arrest in England and Wales


Objective To describe the epidemiology and aetiology of paediatric traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA) in England and Wales.

Design Population-based analysis of the UK Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) database.

Patients and setting All paediatric and adolescent patients with TCA recorded on the TARN database for a 10-year period (2006–2015).

Measures Patient demographics, Injury Severity Score (ISS), location of TCA (‘prehospital only’, ‘in-hospital only’ or ‘both’), interventions performed and outcome.

Results 21 710 paediatric patients were included in the database; 129 (0.6%) sustained TCA meeting study inclusion criteria. The majority, 103 (79.8%), had a prehospital TCA. 62.8% were male, with a median age of 11.7 (3.4–16.6) years, and a median ISS of 34 (25–45). 110 (85.3%) had blunt injuries, with road-traffic collision the most common mechanism (n=73, 56.6%). 123 (95.3%) had severe haemorrhage and/or traumatic brain injury. Overall 30-day survival was 5.4% ((95% CI 2.6 to 10.8), n=7). ‘Pre-hospital only’ TCA was associated with significantly higher survival (n=6) than those with TCA in both ‘pre-hospital and in-hospital’ (n=1)—13.0% (95% CI 6.1% to 25.7%) and 1.2% (95% CI 0.1% to 6.4%), respectively, p<0.05. The greatest survival (n=6, 10.3% (95% CI 4.8% to 20.8%)) was observed in those transported to a paediatric major trauma centre (MTC) (defined as either a paediatric-only MTC or combined adult-paediatric MTC).

Conclusions Survival is possible from the resuscitation of children in TCA, with overall survival comparable to that reported in adults. The highest survival was observed in those with a pre-hospital only TCA, and those who were transported to an MTC. Early identification and aggressive management of paediatric TCA is advocated.

  • paediatric trauma
  • epidemiology
  • paediatric traumatic cardiac arrest
  • cardiac arrest

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