Clinical neurologic signs considered predictive of adverse outcome after pediatric cardiac arrest (CA) may have a different prognostic value in the setting of therapeutic hypothermia (TH). We aimed to determine the prognostic value of motor and pupillary responses in children treated with TH after CA.
Prospective cohort study.
Pediatric ICU in tertiary care hospital.
Children treated with TH after CA.
Measurements and Main Results
Thirty-five children treated with TH after CA were prospectively enrolled. Examinations were performed by emergency medicine physicians and intensive care unit bedside nurses. Examinations were performed after resuscitation, 1 hour after achievement of hypothermia, during the last hour of hypothermia, 1 hour after achievement of normothermia, after 24 hours of normothermia, and after 72 hours of normothermia. The primary outcome was unfavorable outcome at ICU discharge, defined as a Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category (PCPC) score of 4–6 at hospital discharge. The secondary outcome was death (PCPC = 6). The associations between exam responses and unfavorable outcomes (as both PCPC 4,5,6 and PCPC 6) are presented as positive predictive values (PPV), for both all subjects and subjects not receiving paralytics. Statistical significance for these comparisons was determined using Fisher’s exact test. At all examination times and examination categories PPV is higher for the unfavorable outcome PCPC 4,5,6 than PCPC 6. By normothermia hour 24, absent motor and pupil responses were highly predictive of unfavorable outcome (PCPC 4,5,6) (PPV 100% and p<0.03 for all categories), while at earlier times the predictive value was lower.
Absent motor and pupil responses are more predictive of unfavorable outcome when defined more broadly than when defined as only death. Absent motor and pupil responses during hypothermia and soon after return of spontaneous circulation were not predictive of unfavorable outcome while absent motor and pupil responses once normothermic were predictive of unfavorable short-term outcome. Further study is needed using more robust short-term and long-term outcome measures.