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AHA: Hospital Cuts Cardiac Arrests in Pediatric Patients

Procedural change decreased the incidence of cardiac arrests in children by 63 percent

MONDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- In non-critical care areas of a pediatric hospital, implementation of a simple procedural change dramatically decreased the incidence of cardiopulmonary arrests, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's 8th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke in Washington, D.C.

Tia A. Tortoriello, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues conducted a prospective before-and-after examination of the effect of a procedural change at Children's Medical Center. Previously, doctors and nurses summoned the cardiac emergency team only after starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation in response to a patient's cardiac arrest. With the new procedure, the cardiac emergency team was called whenever there were warning signs of cardiopulmonary arrest, such as increased respiratory rate, labored breathing, increased oxygen use, excessive sleepiness and irritability.

From October 2003 to March 2005, before the change was adopted, the researchers identified 68 cardiopulmonary arrests in non-critical care areas. From April 2005 to November 2006, after the change was adopted, they identified 30 cardiopulmonary arrests in non-critical care areas, resulting in a decrease of 63 percent.

"Our goal was to get patients moved to the pediatric intensive care unit and a higher level of care sooner, hoping to prevent an arrest," Tortoriello said in a statement. "And if we couldn't prevent it, the arrest could be better controlled in the pediatric intensive care unit."

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