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CORKSCREW 2013 CORK study of children's realistic estimation of weight


Background In a resuscitation situation involving a child (age 1–15 years) it is crucial to obtain a weight as most interventions and management depend on it. The APLS formula, ‘2×(age+4)’, is taught via the APLS course and is widely used in Irish hospitals. As the prevalence of obesity is increasing the accuracy of the formula has been questioned and a newer formula has been suggested, the Luscombe and Owens (LO) formula, ‘(3×age)+7’.

Aims and Objectives To gather data on the weights and ages of the Cork paediatric population (ages 1–15 years) attending services at the Cork University Hospital (CUH), and to identify which of the two age-based weight estimation formulae has best diagnostic accuracy.

Setting CUH, Ireland’s only level one trauma centre.

Methods Retrospective data collection from charts in the Emergency Department, Paediatric Assessment Unit and the Paediatric wards of CUH.

Results 3155 children aged 1–15 years were included in the study. There were 1344 girls and 1811 boys. The formula weight=‘2×(age+4)’ underestimated children’s weights by a mean of 20.3% (95% CI 19.7% to 20.9%) for the ages of 1–15 years. The LO formula weight=‘(3×age)+7’ showed a mean underestimation of 4.0% (95% CI 3.3% to 4.6%) for the same age range.

Conclusions The LO formula has been validated in several studies and proven to be a superior age-based weight estimation formula in many western emergency departments. This study shows that the LO formula leads to less underestimation of weights in Irish children than the APLS formula. It is a simple, safe and more accurate age-based estimation formula that can be used over a large age range (1–15 years).

  • emergency department
  • paediatric emergency med
  • paediatrics, paediatric emergency medicine
  • paediatrics, paediatric resuscitation
  • paediatrics

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