According to a large national pediatric study conducted by Vinay Nadkarni, MD, and Peter A. Meaney, MD, MPH, specialists in Critical Care Medicine at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia it is found that Ventricular fibrillation (VF) occurs more frequently in children. This is a life-threatening disordered heart rhythms that may accompany full cardiac arrest. It is fatal if it develops later during the arrest at the time of resuscitation. A research team from the American Heart Association's National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) studied the records of more than 1000 children who suffered cardiac arrests when they were in the hospital.
The study results appear in the New England Journal of Medicine. The records were collected from 159 participating hospitals. Robert A. Berg, MD, of the Steele Children's Research Center at the University of Arizona said that this study questions the existing paradigms in pediatric cardiac critical care. Previously it was thought that abnormal rhythms during cardiac arrests were uncommon in children but by this study it was revealed that its occurrence is about 27%. Berg said that cardiac arrests due to initial shockable rhythms had good outcomes, whereas those developing during resuscitation had poor outcomes.
The researchers were surprised as to why survival outcomes from subsequent VF were very low and said that more research is needed to answer the question. It could be that those children suffered from severe underlying heart disease or the physician was not able to diagnose and treat the condition at an early stage. But the sad state is that the majority of children with cardiac arrest do not survive to hospital discharge. The new guidelines for CPR and emergency cardiovascular care for children and adults was reported by the National Registry of CPR, the American Heart Association.