Pittsburgh - 16 percent of all patients in pediatric intensive care unit have acute neurological disorders. This is what the authors of the worldwide PANGEA study report in the journal Pedriatic Critical Care Medicine (2017; doi:).
Children with brain damage from cardiac arrest, traumatic head injuries, or other causes are common patients in the pediatric intensive care unit. Long stays in intensive care units represent major challenge for the family and individual health, said Ericka Fink, author of the study and employee of the. The results of the study showed how urgently “transformative ideas” are needed to improve the treatment of this large group of critically ill children, says Fink.
With the PANGEA study (Prevalence of Acute Critical Neurological Disease in Children: A Global Epidemiological Assessment) the researchers are trying to take snapshot of the acute neurological disorders in critically ill children. The study was designed to assess the prevalence and outcomes of acute neurological injuries and illnesses in children in intensive care units in different countries.
For over year, intensive care units in 107 hospitals provided information about children four days week acute neurological conditions. The houses collected information from 924 patients. The majority of the participating hospitals are located in North America or Europe, but there are also few that represent the circumstances in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America.
A total of 16.2 percent of the children in the participating intensive care units suffered acute neurological conditions. Cardiac arrest was the most common reason for an acute neurological disorder at 23 percent. This was followed by traumatic head injury at 19 percent, followed by generalized infection or inflammation of the central nervous system at 16 percent. Rarer reasons were stroke and tumor, each with nine percent.
The frequency of the respective causes varied with the region. While in Africa, Asia, and South America the most common cause was infection or inflammation, cardiac arrest was the number one cause in all other regions. Children with acute neurological disease showed high risk of poor outcomes.
Twelve percent died, with the highest mortality in children who were caused by cardiac arrest. 32 percent of all children retained moderate to severe neurological deficits. Overall, the children had long periods of hospitalization, an average of 13 days in the intensive care unit and further 22 days in the normal ward. Fink called for greater research efforts to improve the long-term results for the sick children.