Medication errors in cardiopulmonary arrest and code-related situations

Alexander H. Flannery, Sara E. Parli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


PubMed/MEDLINE (1966-November 2014) was searched to identify relevant published studies on the overall frequency, types, and examples of medication errors during medical emergencies involving cardiopulmonary resuscitation and related situations, and the breakdown by type of error. The overall frequency of medication errors during medical emergencies, specifically situations related to resuscitation, is highly variable. Medication errors during such emergencies, particularly cardiopulmonary resuscitation and surrounding events, are not well characterized in the literature but may be more frequent than previously thought. Depending on whether research methods included database mining, simulation, or prospective observation of clinical practice, reported occurrence of medication errors during cardiopulmonary resuscitation and surrounding events has ranged from less than 1% to 50%. Because of the chaos of the resuscitation environment, errors in prescribing, dosing, preparing, labeling, and administering drugs are prone to occur. System-based strategies, such as infusion pump policies and code cart management, as well as personal strategies exist to minimize medication errors during emergency situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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