Objectives To ascertain current use of therapeutic hypothermia (TH) after paediatric cardiac arrest in UK emergency departments (EDs), and views on participating in a UK randomised controlled trial (RCT) incorporating early induction of TH in ED.
Design Anonymous web-based survey of 77 UK Emergency Medicine (EM) consultants from 28 UK EDs that see children during the period April–June 2010.
Results 62% (48/77) of surveyed consultants responded from 21/28 (75%) EDs. All managed children post cardiac arrest. 90% (43/48) were aware of the literature concerning TH after cardiac arrest in adults. However, 63% (30/48) had never used TH in paediatric practice. All departments had at least one method of inducing TH (surface cooling; air/water blankets; intravenous cold fluid or catheters). Reasons stated for not inducing TH included no equipment available (26%; 11/42), TH not advocated by the local PICU (24%; 10/42) and not enough evidence for its use (24%; 10/42). TH was considered based on advice from the local Paediatric Intensive Care Units (68%; 17/25) or likelihood of recovery after arrest (32%; 8/25). There was strong support for a UK RCT of TH versus normothermia (85%; 40/47). The proposed RCT was felt to be ethical (87%; 40/48) with use of deferred consent acceptable (74%; 34/46).
Conclusion UK EM consultants are aware of TH but infrequently initiate the therapy in children for a number of reasons. Their involvement would enable early induction of TH in EDs after paediatric cardiac arrest during a UK RCT. The authors have demonstrated the availability of suitable equipment and EM consultant support for participation in such a RCT.
- emergency medicine
- cardiac arrest
- paediatric emergency medicine
- clinical care
- emergency department
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was a service evaluation via a survey of medical practitioners working in emergency medicine in the UK; we, therefore, were satisfied that ethics committee approval was not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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