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The Efficacy of Pediatric Advanced Life Support Training in Emergency Medical Service Providers

Baker, Troy W. DO*; King, Wilson MD*; Soto, Wendy MD*; Asher, Cindy RN, CNS; Stolfi, Adrienne MSPH*; Rowin, Mark E. MD

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181b0a0da
Original Articles

Pediatric advanced life support (PALS) teaches skills unique to pediatric resuscitation. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of PALS training among emergency medical service (EMS) providers in out-of-hospital trauma and medical resuscitations. A physician panel evaluated all EMS run sheets of pediatric traumas and medical resuscitations brought to a tertiary children's hospital/regional trauma center over a 3-year period. In 183 responses, EMS personnel were the sole providers of medical stabilization. Evaluation included the ability to secure an airway, establish vascular access, shock recognition, and appropriate cardiac rhythm assessment and resuscitation. The panel was blinded to the PALS training status of the responding EMS squad until completion of the review. Pediatric advanced life support-trained EMS personnel responded to 36% of the resuscitations reviewed. A significant difference in successful intubations was noted in PALS-trained squads compared with squads with no PALS training (85% vs 48%; P < 0.001). A significant difference was also noted in the ability to obtain vascular access in shock/arrest cases (100% vs 70%; P < 0.001). Similarly, PALS-trained squads were more successful in intraosseous line placement than non-PALS-trained squads (100% vs 55%; P < 0.01). However, despite better procedural skills, there was no difference in mortality rates between the groups (37% PALS vs 32% non-PALS). We conclude that PALS training improves procedural skills among EMS personnel and should be strongly considered as part of EMS training.

From the *Department of Pediatrics, Wright State University, Dayton, OH; and †Hospital Operations, and ‡Pediatric Critical Care, Children's Medical Center, Dayton, OH.

Reprints: Troy W. Baker, DO Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH 45433 (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.