A Survey Demonstrating Lack of Consensus on the Sequence of Medications for Treatment of Hyperkalemia among Pediatric Critical Care Providers

Nnenna O. Chime, Xun Luo, Leann McNamara, Akira Nishisaki, Elizabeth A. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Objective: Hyperkalemia is one of the reversible causes of cardiac arrest in children. The Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support guidelines have specific recommendations on the choice and sequence of medications for treatment of life-threatening hyperkalemia. However, the Pediatric Advanced Life Support guidelines have no specific treatment recommendations. The objective of this study was to measure the extent to which opinions diverge among pediatricians on the choice and sequence of medication administration in the management of hyperkalemia during cardiac arrest. Design: Scenario-based survey. Setting: A hypothetical hospital area covered by the pediatric rapid response team. Patients: A hypothetical scenario of a 7-year old child receiving a blood transfusion who is suddenly unresponsive and found to be in pulseless ventricular tachycardia with stat labs revealing a potassium level of 8.3. Interventions: A scenario-based survey of PICU fellows and attendings at a PICU Fellows Boot Camp. Measurement and Main Results: Eighty-four fellows and 24 attendings responded to the survey. The response rate was 89%. Calcium was chosen most frequently as the first drug to be administered (calcium chloride, 40/115 [34.8%]; calcium gluconate, 62/115 [53.9%]) while 38 of 115 respondents (33%) chose a drug other than calcium. Only 17 of 115 respondents (15%) would use calcium, sodium bicarbonate, insulin, and dextrose in the advanced cardiovascular life support-recommended sequence. PICU attendings were significantly more likely to administer the advanced cardiovascular life support-recommended sequence than fellows (attendings, 8/24 [33%] vs fellows, 9/84 [11%]; p = 0.007). Conclusion: This survey revealed notable variability in the choice and sequence of medications for treatment of life-threatening hyperkalemia with surprisingly few participants in compliance with the advanced cardiovascular life support hyperkalemia guidelines. A standardized approach for pediatric life-threatening hyperkalemia is recommended to improve resuscitation quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-409
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 21 2015

Keywords

  • advanced cardiovascular life support
  • cardiac arrest
  • hyperkalemia
  • pediatric advanced life support
  • pediatric cardiac arrest
  • pediatric resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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