This study aimed to evaluate patients who presented to the pediatric emergency department with an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) to (1) determine if these patients would meet the criteria for brief resolved unexplained event (BRUE), a new term coined by the American Academy of Pediatrics in May, 2016; (2) risk stratify these patients to determine if they meet the BRUE low-risk criteria; and (3) evaluate outcomes of patients meeting the criteria for BRUE.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients who presented to a large urban academic center pediatric emergency department with an ALTE from January 2013 to May 2015 (before the publication of the BRUE guideline). Children ≤12 months of age were identified by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth/Tenth Revision. Two physician reviews were performed to determine if patients met the ALTE diagnostic criteria. Data were then extracted from these charts to complete objectives.
Seventy-eight patients met the diagnostic criteria for ALTE. Only 1 of those patients met the diagnostic criteria for BRUE, but not for low-risk BRUE. This patient underwent an extensive inpatient evaluation and was eventually discharged after monitoring with a benign diagnosis. Most patients did not meet the criteria for BRUE because the event was not unexplained.
Only 1 patient who presented to the ED with ALTE met the criteria for BRUE, and this patient did not meet the low-risk criteria. This study corroborates previous research on BRUE and continues to highlight the importance of conducting a thorough history and physical examination on all patients presenting to the ED with concerning events.