Pediatric Weight Errors and Resultant Medication Dosing Errors in the Emergency Department

Pediatric Weight Errors and Resultant Medication Dosing Errors in the Emergency Department Background An accurate weight is critical for dosing medications in children. Weight errors can lead to medication-dosing errors. Objectives This study examined the frequency and consequences of weight errors occurring at 1 children's hospital and 2 general hospitals. Methods Using an electronic medical record database, 79,000 emergency department encounters of children younger than 5 years were analyzed. Extreme weights were first identified using weight percentiles. Encounters with potential weight errors were further evaluated using a retrospective chart review to determine whether a weight error and medication-dosing error occurred. Results The percentage of weight errors of total encounters at all 3 institutions was low (0.63% on average), but a large proportion of weight errors led to subsequent medication-dosing errors (34% on average). The children's hospital did not have clinically significantly lower occurrences of weight errors or weight-based medication errors. Common weight errors included the weight in pounds being substituted for the weight in kilograms and decimal placement errors. Conclusions Weight errors were uncommon at the 3 emergency departments that we studied, but they led to weight-based medication-dosing errors that had the potential to cause harm. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Pediatric Emergency Care Wolters Kluwer Health

Pediatric Weight Errors and Resultant Medication Dosing Errors in the Emergency Department

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Publisher
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0749-5161
eISSN
1535-1815
D.O.I.
10.1097/PEC.0000000000001277
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Background An accurate weight is critical for dosing medications in children. Weight errors can lead to medication-dosing errors. Objectives This study examined the frequency and consequences of weight errors occurring at 1 children's hospital and 2 general hospitals. Methods Using an electronic medical record database, 79,000 emergency department encounters of children younger than 5 years were analyzed. Extreme weights were first identified using weight percentiles. Encounters with potential weight errors were further evaluated using a retrospective chart review to determine whether a weight error and medication-dosing error occurred. Results The percentage of weight errors of total encounters at all 3 institutions was low (0.63% on average), but a large proportion of weight errors led to subsequent medication-dosing errors (34% on average). The children's hospital did not have clinically significantly lower occurrences of weight errors or weight-based medication errors. Common weight errors included the weight in pounds being substituted for the weight in kilograms and decimal placement errors. Conclusions Weight errors were uncommon at the 3 emergency departments that we studied, but they led to weight-based medication-dosing errors that had the potential to cause harm.

Journal

Pediatric Emergency CareWolters Kluwer Health

Published: Feb 1, 2017

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