Adequacy of EMS data collection during pediatric cardiac arrest: Are EMTs getting the whole story?

Susan D. Graham, Lenora M. Olson, Robert E. Sapien, Dan Tandberg, David P. Sklar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective. To compare the initial emergency medical services (EMS) prehospital assessment of medical and traumatic cardiopulmonary arrest in the pediatric patient with that of the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) and assess differences and implications for EMS training and prevention. Design. Retrospective review of ambulance run forms with the OMI autopsy confirmations. Setting. An urban EMS system and the state Office of the Medical Investigator. Participants. Patients 15 years of age or less who were treated by prehospital personnel from November 1, 1990, to October 31, 1991, for a medical or traumatic arrest. Intervention. None. Measurements and Main Results. Ambulance runs were reported for 2,586 pediatric patients. Of these, 42 (1.6%) had suffered arrests, with 32 (76%) medical arrests and ten (24%) traumatic arrests. Children 1 year of age or less accounted for 75% of the medical arrests, while children more than 1 year of age accounted for 80% of the traumatic arrests (p = 0.003). Overall mortality was 81 %. When EMS prehospital assessments of medical and traumatic arrests were compared with autopsy reports, there was good agreement for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (kappa = 0.70), but poor agreement for child abuse (kappa = 0.37). Conclusion. The authors found good agreement between EMS prehospital assessments and autopsy diagnoses for identifying pediatric SIDS, but child abuse was not well identified prior to autopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-31
Number of pages4
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac arrest
  • child abuse
  • emergency medical services
  • pediatrics
  • sudden infant death syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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