High-dose epinephrine improves outcome from pediatric cardiac arrest

Annals of Emergency Medicine
M G Goetting, N Paradis

Abstract

Animal studies suggest that the standard dose of epinephrine (SDE) for treatment of cardiac arrest in human beings may be too low. We compared the outcome after SDE with that after high-dose epinephrine (HDE) in children with refractory cardiac arrest. Prospective intervention versus historic control groups. Two similar groups of 20 consecutive patients each (median ages, 2.5 and 3 years) with witnessed cardiac arrest who remained in arrest after at least two SDEs (0.01 mg/kg). Treatment with an additional SDE versus HDE (0.2 mg/kg). The rates of return of spontaneous circulation and long-term survival were compared. Fourteen of the HDE group (70%) had return of spontaneous circulation, whereas none of the SDE group did (P less than .001). Eight children survived to discharge after HDE, and three were neurologically intact at follow-up. No significant toxicity from HDE was observed. HDE provided a higher return of spontaneous circulation rate and a better long-term outcome than SDE in our series of pediatric cardiac arrest. HDE may warrant incorporation into standard resuscitation protocols at an early enough point to prevent irreversible brain injury.

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