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The accuracy of drug dosing calculations during medical emergencies in children has not been evaluated extensively. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the accuracy of drug dose calculations using the Broselow tape, the PAWPER XL tape plus its companion drug-dosing guide, a custom-designed mobile phone app and no drug-dosing aid (control group). This was a prospective study in which 32 emergency medicine volunteers participated in eight simulations of common paediatric emergency conditions, using children models. The participants used the three methods to estimate the children's weight and calculate drug doses. The accuracy of and time taken for the drug dose determinations were then evaluated for each of the methods. The overall accuracy of drug dose determinations was extremely and potentially dangerously low in the control group in which no dosing guide was used as well as in the Broselow tape group (<20% of doses were correct). The accuracy was significantly higher with the PAWPER XL tape group and the mobile app group (47% and 31% respectively). The times taken to obtain the required information did not differ in a clinically meaningful magnitude. Both an accurate weight estimation and a dosing guide with comprehensive information were necessary to produce an accurate prescription. The information on the Broselow tape was not sufficient for this purpose. The current guidelines recommending the use of tapes with limited information should be revised. The results from the comprehensive dosing guides were substantially better, but still had a lower proportion of accurate prescriptions than desirable. The role of training in every aspect of the emergency paediatric weight estimation and drug dosing procedure cannot be underestimated and should be routine in any environment where emergency care may be needed. © 2020 African Federation for Emergency Medicine. Publishing services provided by Elsevier.


Mike Wells, Lara Goldstein. Drug dosing errors in simulated paediatric emergencies - Comprehensive dosing guides outperform length-based tapes with precalculated drug doses. African journal of emergency medicine : Revue africaine de la medecine d'urgence. 2020 Jun;10(2):74-80

PMID: 32612912

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