2J or 4J/kg in Paediatric Defibrillation?

Should we shock with 2J/kg or 4J/kg in Paediatric Defibrillation? The answer seems to be ‘we still don’t know’. Don’t worry – just follow the guidelines (reproduced for you at the bottom)
OBJECTIVE To examine the effectiveness of initial defibrillation attempts. We hypothesized that (1) an initial shock dose of 2 ± 10 J/kg would be less effective for terminating fibrillation than suggested in published historical data and (2) a 4 J/kg shock dose would be more effective.
PATIENTS AND METHODS This was a National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation prospective, multisite, observational study of in-hospital pediatric (aged 18 years) ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia cardiac arrests from 2000–2008. Termination of ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia and event survival after initial shocks of 2 J/kg were compared with historic controls and a 4 J/kg shock dose.

RESULTS Of 266 children with 285 events, 173 of 285 (61%) survived the event and 61 of 266 (23%) survived to discharge. Termination of fibrillation after initial shock was achieved for 152 of 285 (53%) events. Termination of fibrillation with 2 ± 10 J/kg was much less frequent than that seen among historic control subjects (56% vs 91%; P < .001), but not different than 4 J/kg. Compared with 2 J/kg, an initial shock dose of 4 J/kg was associated with lower rates of return of spontaneous circulation (odds ratio: 0.41 [95% confidence interval: 0.21–0.81]) and event survival (odds ratio: 0.42 [95% confidence interval: 0.18–0.98]).
CONCLUSIONS The currently recommended 2 J/kg initial shock dose for in-hospital cardiac arrest was substantially less effective than previously published. A higher initial shock dose (4 J/kg) was not associated with superior termination of ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia or improved survival rates. The optimal pediatric defibrillation dose remains unknown.
Effect of defibrillation energy dose during in-hospital pediatric cardiac arrest
Pediatrics. 2011 Jan;127(1):e16-23
Here’s what the guidelines say:
Many AEDs have high specificity in recognizing pediatric shockable rhythms, and some are equipped to decrease (or attenuate) the delivered energy to make them suitable for infants and children <8 years of age. For infants a manual defibrillator is preferred when a shockable rhythm is identified by a trained healthcare provider (Class IIb, LOE C). The recommended first energy dose for defibrillation is 2 J/kg. If a second dose is required, it should be doubled to 4 J/kg. If a manual defibrillator is not available, an AED equipped with a pediatric attenuator is preferred for infants. An AED with a pediatric attenuator is also preferred for children <8 year of age. If neither is available, an AED without a dose attenuator may be used (Class IIb, LOE C). AEDs that deliver relatively high energy doses have been successfully used in infants with minimal myocardial damage and good neurological outcomes
Pediatric Basic Life Support: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care
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