OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of initial defibrillation attempts. We hypothesized that (1) an initial shock dose of 2 ± 10 J/kg would be less effective for terminating fibrillation than suggested in published historical data and (2) a 4 J/kg shock dose would be more effective. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation prospective, multisite, observational study of in-hospital pediatric (aged ≤ 18 years) ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia cardiac arrests from 2000-2008. Termination of ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia and event survival after initial shocks of 2 J/kg were compared with historic controls and a 4 J/kg shock dose. RESULTS: Of 266 children with 285 events, 173 of 285 (61%) survived the event and 61 of 266 (23%) survived to discharge. Termination of fibrillation after initial shock was achieved for 152 of 285 (53%) events. Termination of fibrillation with 2 ± 10 J/kg was much less frequent than that seen among historic control subjects (56% vs 91%; P < .001), but not different than 4 J/kg. Compared with 2 J/kg, an initial shock dose of 4 J/kg was associated with lower rates of return of spontaneous circulation (odds ratio: 0.41 [95% confidence interval: 0.21-0.81]) and event survival (odds ratio: 0.42 [95% confidence interval: 0.18-0.98]). CONCLUSIONS: The currently recommended 2 J/kg initial shock dose for in-hospital cardiac arrest was substantially less effective than previously published. A higher initial shock dose (4 J/kg) was not associated with superior termination of ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia or improved survival rates. The optimal pediatric defibrillation dose remains unknown.
- Cardiac arrest
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Ventricular tachycardia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health