Simulated pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation: initial events and response times of a hospital arrest team

J M Palmisano, O A Akingbola, F W Moler, J R Custer
Respiratory Care 1994, 39 (7): 725-9

BACKGROUND: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training programs exist to enhance knowledge and skills retention. However, they do not ensure that effective CPR will be performed by trainees or resuscitation teams. One aspect of CPR effectiveness is the ability of the team to respond to an emergency call in a timely manner.

METHODS: We prospectively evaluated the time required for team members to respond to an emergency call and to initiate definitive treatment in our pediatric facility. The medical staff who responded had no prior knowledge of the simulated cardiac arrest (SCA) events. All events were recorded on audio-cassette tape to determine the sequence of events and response time of arrest team members. SCA scenarios represented examples of cardiac, hematologic, renal, respiratory, and pharmacologic pathophysiology. All participants were instructed to respond as though the SCA were an actual emergency.

RESULTS: From December 1991 to January 1993, 37 SCAs were evaluated. Documentation began after a concise arrest scenario had been presented to a designated nursing representative who was to be the first rescuer on the scene. The rescuer first assessed the patient's condition, activated the cardiac arrest system (median elapsed time, MET, 0.50 minutes), and then initiated single-person CPR (MET 0.58 minutes). Administration of oxygen occurred at an MET of 2.25 minutes. The first member of the arrest team to respond was the pediatric resident (MET 3.17 minutes) followed by the respiratory therapist (MET 3.20 minutes), an ICU nurse (MET 3.58 minutes), a pharmacist (MET 3.42 minutes), and anesthesiology personnel (MET 4.70 minutes).

DISCUSSION: The use of SCAs (termed "Mega Code") serves as an extension of Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support education and provides a valuable learning experience and quality assurance tool. Limitations that might influence patient outcome during an actual in-hospital arrest have led to refinements in our cardiac arrest procedures. Of particular note was the delay in oxygen administration, which may be linked to its omission from the 1986 and 1992 American Heart Association Basic Life Support Guidelines.

CONCLUSION: We believe that BLS education for hospital employees should include and emphasize oxygen delivery for resuscitation.

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