Improper defibrillator pad usage by emergency medical care providers for children: an opportunity for reeducation

Published:November 18, 2013DOI:



      Approximately 14 000 pediatric out-of-hospital arrests occur annually. With this significant number and the diversity in the training backgrounds of medical providers, correct choice and placement of defibrillator pads are imperative to ensure maximum efficacy.


      One hundred fifty-two emergency medical care providers from 6 medical fields were recruited for the study. Each participant answered a series of questions to ascertain baseline knowledge of correct defibrillator pad choice and placement in 2 scenarios with mannequins weighted less than 15 kg and more than 15 kg. After the testing, each participant received an educational intervention. Six months after the first phase, participants received a questionnaire to ascertain knowledge retention.


      In the primary study phase, for correct pad choice for mannequins weighing less than 15 kg and more than 15 kg, overall results were 98% (95% confidence interval [CI], 94.1%-100%) and 38.8% (95% CI, 31.4%-46.8%), respectively. In the second phase, pad choices for mannequins weighing less than 15 kg and more than 15 kg were 77.3% (95% CI, 68.6%-84.2%) and 60% (95% CI, 47.7%-71.1%). The rates of correct pad placement during the initial phase for mannequins weighing less than 15 kg and more than 15 kg were 5.8% (95% CI, 2.8%-11.2%) and 25.7%, respectively (95% CI, 19.4%-35.7%). Rates for correct pad placement (<15-kg and >15-kg mannequins) improved in the second phase to 68.2% (95% CI, 56%–78.4%) and 71.2% (95% CI, 62.8%-81.5%).


      Pediatric emergency providers have poor understanding of pad choice and placement. Emergency medical care providers for children who are educated about the correct defibrillator pad choices and placement have improved knowledge and can retain that knowledge for at least 6 months.
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