UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Color-Coded Code Drugs: A Novel Idea in Pediatric Resuscitation

Keywords: pediatric, code, resuscitation, medication error (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/3/2015 by Christopher Lemon, MD
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A group from Colorado identified the high-stress of pediatric resuscitation as a high-risk setting for possible medication error. As such, they performed a prospective, block-randomized, crossover study with two mixed teams of docs (ABEM certified) and nurses, managing 2 simulated peds arrest scenarios using either:

  1) conventional “draw-up and push” drug administration methods [control] or

  2) prefilled medication syringes labeled with color-coded volumes correlating to the weight-based Broselow Tape dosing [intervention].

The objective was to compare the time of preparation and administration of a medication, as well as to assess dosing errors. Participants were blinded to the purpose during recruitment but unblinded just prior to running the scenarios.

The scenarios included advanced airway management and hemodynamic life support efforts to care for an 8-year-old or 8-month-old manikin. The intervention group received a standard 3-minute tutorial on the use of prefilled color-coded syringes just prior to their scenario. After completing the first scenario, the groups switched, utilizing the other sim with the other method of medication administration. After a 4-16 week “wash out” period, the groups reconvened to reverse the medication administration technique across the same 2 scenarios.

Each Broselow tape color zone corresponds to a narrow range of weights. The authors opted to designate medication dosing errors >10% above or below the correct range as critical dosing errors.

The results? Median time to delivery of all conventionally administered medication doses was 47 seconds versus the prefilled color-coded administration system-- 19 seconds. The conventional administration system saw 17% of doses with critical errors versus none for the prefilled color-coded syringe group.

These prefilled color-coded syringes are not currently manufactured. Should they go into commercial production, the hope is that such syringes would be longer and more narrow than conventional syringes to effectively elongate each color-coded section (the delineations for red and purple on a standard syringe differ by as little as 1/8-3/32 of an inch if you want to make your own!-- see picture).



Color-Coded Prefilled Medication Syringes Decrease Time to Delivery and Dosing Error in Simulated Emergency Department Pediatric Resuscitations. Moreira, Maria E. et al. Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 66 , Issue 2 , 97 - 106.e3.


1510030139_syringes.jpg (255 Kb)