Predicting outcomes of children after cardiac arrest (CA) remains challenging. To identify useful prognostic markers for pediatric CA, we retrospectively analyzed the early findings of head computed tomography (CT) of patients. Subjects were non-traumatic, out-of-hospital CA patients < 16 years of age who underwent the first head CT within 24 h in our institute from 2006 to 2018 (n = 70, median age: 4 months, range 0–163). Of the 24 patients with return of spontaneous circulation, 14 survived up to 30 days after CA. The degree of brain damage was quantitatively measured with modified methods of the Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (mASPECTS) and simplified gray-matter-attenuation-to-white-matter-attenuation ratio (sGWR). The 14 survivors showed higher mASPECTS values than the 56 non-survivors (p = 0.035). All 3 patients with mASPECTS scores ≥ 20 survived, while an sGWR ≥ 1.14 indicated a higher chance of survival than an sGWR < 1.14 (54.5% vs. 13.6%). Follow-up magnetic resonance imaging for survivors validated the correlation of the mASPECTS < 15 with severe brain damage. Thus, low mASPECTS scores were associated with unfavorable neurological outcomes on the Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category scale. A quantitative analysis of early head CT findings might provide clues for predicting survival of pediatric CA.
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