SPARC Node Shares Latest Publications

  • Published August 31, 2023
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The San Francisco-Oakland, Providence, Atlanta Research Collaborative (SPARC) node – one of the seven nodes within the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) – draws on the combined expertise of Brown University, Emory University, and the University of California-San Francisco, and Alameda County EMS.

SPARC was among seven nodes recently awarded another four years of funding. Below, the node shares three recent publications about its research in high-priority areas: mental and behavioral health; firearm injury; and sickle cell disease.

Physical Restraint Use in Children with Mental and Behavioral Health Emergencies in the Prehospital Setting

Mental and behavioral health emergencies are common in children. However, little is known about the use of prehospital physical restraint, despite the potential for serious adverse events. This seven-year study analyzed almost 10,000 child transports in Alameda County, CA (the SPARC EMS site). It showed more than one in eight children were physically restrained during transport. Of those, most were experiencing tough emotional situations like a crisis (51.1%), a mental health issue (27.4%), or other behavioral problems (12.4%). These results highlight the need to better address the primary etiology and move towards a patient-centered approach for the management of acute agitation in children. Read the full paper, published this month in the Journal of American College of Emergency Physicians Open.

Sickle Cell Disease Treatment with Arginine Therapy (STArT): Phase 3 Randomized Controlled Trial

Children with sickle cell disease often suffer from painful episodes caused by blocked blood vessels. Unfortunately, there are few effective treatments. SPARC’s Principal Investigator at Emory University, Claudia Morris, MD, FAAP, is leading the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment with Arginine Therapy (STArT) Trial to find out if giving kids intravenous arginine helps during painful episodes. The study protocol was published this month in Trials.

Variability in Firearm Injury among Major Pediatric Trauma Centers across the USA

Firearm injuries became the leading cause of death in children in the United States in 2020. This study – published this spring in Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open – compared firearm injuries, outcomes, and types of shooters at four pediatric trauma centers. It showed an increase in unintentional firearm injuries, with children frequently pulling the trigger. This study will impact policies by showing the importance of regionally tailored public health campaigns based on the commonly encountered mechanisms of injury in that community. Read the publication.

Learn more about SPARC and all of PECARN’s nodes at