Perioperative cardiac arrests in children at a university teaching hospital of a developing country over 15 years

Aliya Ahmed, Mohammad Ali, Mueenullah Khan, Fauzia Khan

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Objective/Aim: To study the incidence, causes, and outcome of perioperative cardiac arrests in children at a university teaching hospital with an aim of improving quality of care. Background: Analysis of anesthesia-related complications is routinely performed by most anesthesia departments to make prevention strategies. Methods: All perioperative cardiac arrests in children up to 18 years from induction of anesthesia to postanesthesia care unit discharge or ICU admission during noncardiac surgery from January 1992 to December 2006 were analyzed. Outcome variable was noted as survival to discharge. Anesthesia-related cardiac arrests were identified and their causes analyzed. Results: Ten cardiac arrests occurred among 20216 patients. Overall incidence was 4.95 per 10000 (95% CI: 1.88-8.01). Six (6.53/10000) were females. Seven (19.44/10000) patients belonged to the classification III-IV of ASA physical status, eight (18.28/10000) were below 1 year, and two (1.26/10000) above 1 year. Three patients (6.53/10000) were undergoing emergency surgery. Anesthesia was primarily responsible in four cases. The causes of anesthesia-related arrests were medication-related (two), airway-related (one), and under-replacement of fluids (one). Seven patients died during the arrest and three were discharged home. The event was considered avoidable in seven (70%) cases. Conclusion: Perioperative cardiac arrests were higher in patients with poor physical status, in those under 1 year of age, and in female patients. Anesthesia-related cardiac arrests were mainly due to medication- or airway-related causes. The majority of arrests were avoidable indicating the importance of prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Perioperative complications: cardiac arrest


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