AAP: New Ventricular Fibrillation Strategies Needed

Policy statement recommends inclusion of children in automated external defibrillator programs

MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Although ventricular fibrillation is rare in children and infants, better strategies must be developed to treat it, including the use of automated external defibrillators, according to a policy statement presented this week at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference and published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

Steven E. Krug, M.D., chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Section on Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, and colleagues reviewed recent literature showing that children can develop ventricular fibrillation, which has a better outcome than other cardiac arrest rhythms. They also note that the arrhythmia software on automated external defibrillators has become increasingly validated for children, and that attenuation devices that downregulate energy delivery are now available to allow their use on children.

The authors recommend strategies that either employ an attenuated adult-dosage automated external defibrillator that has been tested for efficacy and safety in children or the development of a device especially for use in infants and young children.

"As automated external defibrillator programs expand, pediatricians must advocate on behalf of children so that their needs are accounted for," the authors conclude. "For pediatricians to be able to provide guidance and ensure that children are included in automated external defibrillator programs, it is important for pediatricians to know how automated external defibrillators work, be up-to-date on the literature regarding pediatric fibrillation and energy delivery, and understand the role of automated external defibrillators as life-saving interventions for children."

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