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Epidemiology of paediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Ontario, Canada


Background — There are no Canadian epidemiological studies of Paediatric Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (POHCA) for ≥20 years. Understanding the epidemiology of POHCA is key to prevention, education, and management strategies.

Methods — We applied a validated algorithm to hospital administrative databases to describe paediatric (age 1 day to ≤18 years) atraumatic OHCA in Ontario from 2004–2020.

Results — The cohort included 1,839 paediatric patients with atraumatic POHCA occurring at a median (IQR) age of 2 (0–12) years with 721 (39.2%) POHCA events in <1-year-olds. Males accounted for 71.1% (n = 1123) of the cohort. Crude incidence of children with POHCA who were transported to an Emergency Department was 4.2/100,000 with an increase annually over the study period (p = 0.0065). Thirty percent (n = 560) lived in a neighbourhood with the lowest income quintile, while 13.6% (n = 251) lived in a neighbourhood with the highest income quintile, 78.6% (n = 1444) presented to a non-academic hospital, and the majority (n = 1533, 83.4%) did not have significant comorbidities. Survival to hospital discharge was achieved in 167 (9.1%). Less than 6 (<3.6%) patients had a repeat POHCA in the year following the index event.

Conclusions — This is the largest Canadian POHCA cohort and the first to describe its incidence, comorbidities, and sociodemographic characteristics. We found an increase in annual crude incidence, POHCA mostly occurred in healthy children, and survival was similar to other cohorts. There were more than double the number of POHCA events in children living in the lowest income quintile neighborhoods compared to the highest. Most children presented to non-academic hospitals first.



Tijssen JA, McClean M, Lam M, Le B, To T. Resusc Plus. 2023; 15:100442. Epub 2023 Aug 5.

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