With thanks to Dr Dilshad Marikar for looking at the 2016 RCPCH material on managing a child with a decreased conscious level, prompted by his being on call when a 14 year old was brought to the ED with a GCS of 3.
The RCPCH algorithm has a child between 4 weeks and 18 years old enter the Decreased Consciousness (DeCon) pathway if the AVPU is “P” or “U” or if there is a new finding of GCS ≤ 14 which seems quite a low threshold and means that we will all need to use this guideline at some point. See: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/system/files/protected/page/RCPCH%20DeCon%20Poster%20.pdf – incorporates how to identify and manage the situation and differential diagnoses. The full guideline is available here and the recommendations summary PDF, here. Some salient points:
- Consider intubation if GCS < 8 and child not improving
- Give oxygen if O2 saturation is ≤ 95%
- Check capillary blood glucose within 15 minutes
- Don’t overlook the possibility of NAI or safeguarding issues