Pediatric and neonatal critical care transport: a comparison of therapeutic interventions

J B Kronick, T C Frewen, N Kissoon, R Lee, J F Sommerauer, W D Reid, S Casier, K Boyle
Pediatric Emergency Care 1996, 12 (1): 23-6

OBJECTIVE: To compare the therapeutic interventions provided to newborn and pediatric patients by a dedicated combined neonatal pediatric critical care transport team.

METHOD: From November 1987 through December 1989 we prospectively compared the number of therapeutic interventions performed by the critical care transport team on newborns and pediatric patients. The transport team (critical care physician [PL3 or greater], pediatric respiratory therapist, critical care nurse), recorded all therapeutic interventions, including both procedural and pharmacologic, for 213 newborn and 149 pediatric consecutive transports. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance or chi 2 statistic.

RESULTS: All patients were admitted to either the pediatric or the neonatal intensive care unit, and over 80% of both age groups received assisted ventilation. Newborns commonly suffered from respiratory diseases (159/213), while pediatric patients suffered from respiratory (52/149), central nervous system (28/149), and traumatic conditions (37/149). Airway maintenance procedural interventions (intubation, ventilation) were the commonest in both groups, although more frequent in neonates. Neonates received antibiotics and morphine (P < 0.05) while pediatric patients received anticonvulsants and respiratory drugs (P < 0.05) more frequently. Newborns received significantly more interventions than pediatric patients (average 3.56 vs 2.93, P < 0.05). Newborns also received significantly more procedural interventions (2.06 vs 1.36, P = < 0.05) including intubation (34.7% vs 15.4%, P < 0.05) and the initiation of mechanical ventilation (38% vs 22%, P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Overall, newborns received more interventions, including intubation, and ventilation from the transport team than did pediatric patients. Our data suggest that combined pediatric neonatal transport teams should be prepared to intervene in a wide range of conditions from preterm respiratory distress to the multiply traumatized adolescent.

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