Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Algorithm—2015 Update

This figure conveys the Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Algorithm, which was updated in 2015. It includes a flowchart on the left and a table of related information on the right. The flowchart consists of numerous numbered boxes and unnumbered hexagons linked together with arrows. At the top, box 1, which is blue, is labeled “Start CPR.” It contains two points of text:
  • Give oxygen.
  • Attach monitor or defibrillator.
A downward arrow leads to the first red hexagon that poses the question, “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” Possible responses are “Yes” and “No,” and each leads to a different pathway. In this description, we will first follow the “Yes” pathway to its end before looking at the “No” pathway. Following the “Yes” arrow to the left and down leads to box number 2, which is white. It is labeled “VF/pVT,” which stands for Ventricular Fibrillation and Pulseless Ventricular Tachycardia.” From here, an arrow points downward to item 3: a red lightning bolt icon labeled “Shock.” Continuing on, an arrow points down to box 4, which is blue, labeled “CPR 2 minutes.” Its corresponding text says “IV or I.O. access.” (“IV” is short for “Intravenous,” and “I.O.” stands for “intraosseous.” The next arrow leads to a second red hexagon that asks the same question as before: “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” From here, let’s continue to focus on the “Yes” pathway. It leads to item 5, another red lightning bolt labeled “Shock.” An arrow points down to box 6, which is blue and titled “CPR 2 minutes.” Its related text says:
  • Epinephrine every 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Consider advanced airway.
This leads to the third red hexagon with the question: “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” Continuing to look at the “Yes” pathway, an arrow leads to item 7, a red lightning bolt labeled “Shock.” Item 8 is a blue box titled “CPR 2 minutes.” Its text says:
  • Amiodarone or lidocaine.
  • Treat reversible causes.
This box has an arrow that circles back to the second red hexagon, which asks, “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” At the second and third red hexagons in this pathway, if the answer to the question ““[Is the] rhythm shockable?” is “No, the flowchart points to box 12. This white box contains the text:
  • Asystole or P.E.A.? [Then go to box] 10 or 11.
  • Organized rhythm? [Then] check pulse.
  • Pulse present (ROSC)? [Proceed to] post-cardiac arrest care.
As mentioned earlier, the flowchart splits at the first red hexagon into two pathways. If the answer to the initial question, “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” is“No,” an arrow points down and to the right to box 9. This white box says, “Asystole or Pulseless electrical activity (P.E.A.). From box 9, an arrow leads downward to box 10. This blue box is titled “CPR 2 minutes.” It contains the following text:
  • I.V. or I.O. access.
  • Epinephrine every 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Consider advanced airway.
An arrow points down to the second red hexagon in this pathway. It also asks, “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” If the answer is “No,” an arrow leads to box 11. This blue box is labeled “CPR 2 minutes” and contains the text, “Treat reversible causes.” From there, an arrow leads to the third red hexagon along this path. If the answer to the question, “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” is “No,” an arrow points to box 12. As mentioned earlier, it states:
  • Asystole or P.E.A.? [Then go to box] 10 or 11.
  • Organized rhythm? [Then] check pulse.
  • Pulse present (ROSC)? [Proceed to] post-cardiac arrest care.
If, at the second or third hexagon in this pathway the answer to the question, “[Is the] rhythm shockable?” is “Yes,” arrows lead to a white box that says, “Go to [items] 5 or 7.” As mentioned earlier, they are represented by a red lightning bolt and contain the text “Shock.” The table on the right contains bulleted text related to six different topics. The first topic is “CPR Quality.” The corresponding text states:
  • Push hard (greater than or equal to one-third of anteroposterior diameter of chest) and fast (100 to 120 compressions per minute) and allow complete chest recoil.
  • Minimize interruptions in compressions.
  • Avoid excessive ventilation.
  • Rotate compressor every 2 minutes, or sooner if fatigued.
  • If no advanced airway, use a 15-to-2 compression-to-ventilation ratio.
The second topic is “Shock Energy for Defibrillation.” The related text says: “First shock: 2 Joules per kilogram. Second shock: 4 Joules per kilogram. Subsequent shocks: greater than or equal to 4 Joules per kilogram. Maximum: 10 Joules per kilogram or adult dose.” The third topic is “Drug Therapy.” The associated text states:
  • Epinephrine I.O. or IV dose: 0.01 milligrams per kilogram (or 0.1 milliliter per kilogram of 1-to-10,000 concentration). Repeat every 3 to 5 minutes. If no I.O. or IV access, may give endotracheal dose: 0.1 milligrams per kilogram (or 0.1 milliters per kilogram of 1-to-1000 concentration.)
  • Amiodarone I.O. or IV dose: 5 milligrams per kilogram bolus during cardiac arrest. May repeat up to 2 times for refractory VF or pulseless VT.
  • Lidocaine I.O. or IV dose: Initial: 1 milligram per kilogram loading dose. Maintenance: 20 to 50 micrograms per kilogram per minute infusion (repeat bolus dose if infusion is initiated more than 15 minutes after initial bolus therapy).
The fourth topic is “Advanced Airway.” The corresponding text says:
  • Endotracheal intubation or supraglottic advanced airway.
  • Waveform capnography or capnometry to confirm and monitor E.T. tube placement.
  • Once advanced airway is in place, give 1 breath every 6 seconds (10 breaths per minute) with continuous chest compressions.
The fifth topic is “Return of Spontaneous Circulation, or ROSC.” The related text states:
  • Pulse and blood pressure.
  • Spontaneous arterial pressure waves with intra-arterial monitoring.
The final topic is “Reversible Causes.” The associated text says:
  • Hypovolemia.
  • Hypoxia.
  • Hydrogen ion (acidosis).
  • Hypoglycemia.
  • Hypo- or hyperkalemia.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Tension pneumothorax.
  • Tamponade, cardiac.
  • Toxins.
  • Thrombosis, pulmonary.
  • Thrombosis, coronary.
This figure is copyright 2015 by the American Heart Association.