Delays and errors in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation by pediatric residents during simulated cardiopulmonary arrests

Elizabeth A. Hunt, Kimberly Vera, Marie Diener-West, Jamie A. Haggerty, Kristen L. Nelson, Donald H. Shaffner, Peter J. Pronovost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Background: The quality of life support delivered during cardiopulmonary resuscitation affects outcomes. However, little data exist regarding the quality of resuscitation delivered to children and factors associated with adherence to American Heart Association (AHA) resuscitation guidelines. Participants: Pediatric residents from an academic, tertiary care hospital. Design: Prospective, observational cohort study of residents trained in the AHA PALS 2000 guidelines managing a high-fidelity mannequin simulator programmed to develop pulseless ventricular tachycardia (PVT). Main outcome measures: Proportion of residents who: (1) started compressions in ≤1 min from onset of PVT, (2) defibrillated in ≤3 min and (3) factors associated with time to defibrillation. Results: Seventy of eighty (88%) residents participated. Forty-six of seventy (66%) failed to start compressions within 1 min of pulselessness and 23/70 (33%) never started compressions. Only 38/70 (54%) residents defibrillated the mannequin in ≤3 min of onset of PVT. There was no significant difference in time elapsed between onset of PVT and defibrillation by level of post-graduate training. However, residents who had previously discharged a defibrillator on either a patient or a simulator compared to those who had not were 87% more likely to successfully defibrillate the mannequin at any point in time (hazard ratio 1.87, 95% CI: 1.08-3.21, p = 0.02). Conclusions: Pediatric residents do not meet performance standards set by the AHA. Future curricula should focus training on identified defects including: (1) equal emphasis on "airway and breathing" and "circulation" and (2) hands-on training with using and discharging a defibrillator in order to improve safety and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-825
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Cardiopulmonary arrest
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Defibrillation
  • Education
  • Graduate medical education
  • Patient simulation
  • Pediatrics
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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