AUTHORS: Christensen, Robert E. MD et al
Anesthesia & Analgesia: April 2017 – Volume 124 – Issue 4 – p 1231–1236
BACKGROUND: Nearly 20% of anesthesia-related pediatric cardiac arrests (CAs) occur during emergence or recovery. The aims of this case series were to use the Wake Up Safe database to describe the following: (1) the nature of pediatric postanesthesia care unit (PACU) CA and subsequent outcomes and (2) factors associated with harm after pediatric PACU CA.
METHODS: Pediatric CAs in the PACU were identified from the Wake Up Safe Pediatric Anesthesia Quality Improvement Initiative, a multicenter registry of adverse events in pediatric anesthesia. Demographics, underlying conditions, cause of CA, and outcomes were extracted. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize data and to assess risk of harm in those suffering CA.
RESULTS: A total of 26 CA events were included: 67% in children <5 years, and 30% in infants (<1 year); 18 (69%) were deemed likely or almost certainly preventable. All preventable CAs were respiratory in nature and most (67%) had purported root causes that included provider judgment or inexperience, inadequate supervision, and competing priorities. CAs of cardiac origin were associated with increased level of harm (temporary or greater), whereas those of respiratory origin were associated more often with no harm.
CONCLUSIONS: PACU CA events are rare and generally survivable, with better outcomes for respiratory-based events, but most were deemed preventable, suggesting a need for further vigilance in the early postoperative period. Maintenance of monitoring during patient transport to PACU and continuing care by anesthesia care providers until emergence from anesthesia may further reduce the preventable arrest rate. The root cause analyses conducted by individual institutions reporting these data to the Wake Up Safe provided only limited insight, so multicenter collaborative approaches may allow for greater insight into effective CA-prevention strategies.