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SPARC: an integrated prehospital and hospital resuscitation tool to aid in the immediate care of sick and injured children


Accurate selection and calculation of drug dosage in treating sick or injured children is often difficult as it depends on estimating the weight of the child. A device has been developed to remove calculation errors and use of inappropriate drugs.


Validation of the SPARC* system for the resuscitation of children.


Eighty-nine clinicians of all grades in the three specialties dealing with paediatric emergencies (A&E medicine, paediatricians and anaesthetists).


Four hospitals in the north east of England.


Each participant was given two paediatric resuscitation scenarios (septic fitting child and a cardiac arrest from tricyclic poisoning). A series of treatment related randomised questions were given. For each question the weight of the child was provided. The participants were offered the device to aid in dosage selection.


Time to response/accuracy of response/ previous experience/use or otherwise of the device/previous resuscitation training.


Junior staff using this device, without previous experience or training were accurate in treatment suggestions. There was no significant difference in response time between those middle grades with experience and training and untrained, new SHOs.


This study suggests that inexperienced doctors without previous training using SPARC will be able to initiate critical interventions rapidly and accurately before the arrival of more senior staff. This device removes inaccurate weight estimation. It hastens response time to critical events. Our impression of this device is that it is a useful addition to emergency care involving drug therapy.

*SPARC: Standard Paediatric Aid to Resuscitation Cards: a series of A4 cards (with identical layout) list the drug dosage and sequence of drugs for the emergencies in childhood that demand immediate specific treatment. This is accompanied by a weight estimation tape which has previously been validated.

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Dowd, H., de Castillo, B.F. & Wyllie, J. SPARC: an integrated prehospital and hospital resuscitation tool to aid in the immediate care of sick and injured children. Crit Care 1 (Suppl 1), P127 (1997).

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