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Are Pediatrics Being Left Out of the Equation?

Helping Save Pediatric Lives

Olivia Quigley was six years old when she suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). She was in first grade, doing warm-ups in gym class, when she suddenly collapsed.

She was fortunate that her school had rehearsed an immediate medical emergency response plan. After two teachers performed six minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), emergency medical technicians (EMTs) arrived with a defibrillator that revived Olivia. She survived. Recounting the experience, her father says, “Cardiac arrest isn’t rare – survival is.” 1

Each year in the United States, over 7,000 children experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).2 Their chances of survival are largely dependent on whether bystanders and practitioners act with the same confidence and skill set with which they would treat an adult.3

 

Only 9% of children survive, and many have poor neurological outcomes.4

 

Olivia’s story shows the best possible outcome for a pediatric victim of SCA. Witnesses saw her collapse, teachers began bystander CPR right away, and EMS arrived within minutes to take over. Her survival is a testament to how preparation can make the difference between life and death. But, sadly, hands-on practice for pediatric patients can be overlooked. People don’t like to imagine doing CPR on a child.

In this article, we share an overview of the challenges presented in a pediatric SCA and discuss how increasing the frequency and quality of hands-on practice for pediatric resuscitation can help.