Paediatric and neonatal admissions to an intensive care unit at a regional hospital in the Western Cape

Kruger, Irma (2014-04)

Thesis (MMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the outcome of critically ill neonates and children admitted to a general intensive care unit in a large regional hospital (Worcester) in the Western Cape. A secondary aim of the study was to determine the risk factors for death in these neonates and children. Methodology: This was a retrospective descriptive survey of all paediatric admissions (under 13 years of age; July 2008 till June 2009) to an intensive care unit at a large regional hospital in Worcester, South Africa. Data collected included: demography, admission time, length of stay, diagnoses, interventions and outcome. Outcome was defined as successful discharge, death or transfer to a central hospital. Results: There were 194 admissions including children and neonates. The files of 185 children and neonates were analysed, while 8 children were excluded due to incomplete data set and one patient was a surgical admission. The male: female ratio was 1.3: 1 and the majority of patients (83%) admitted, were younger than 12 months of age at admission with a mean age of 8.5 months (median age 3.7 months; range 0 to 151 months). The majority (70%) of admissions were successfully discharged, nearly a quarter (24%) transferred to central hospitals in Cape Town and only 6% died (all younger than 5 years of age). Causes of death included acute lower respiratory tract infections (33%), acute gastroenteritis (25%), birth asphyxia complicated by pulmonary hypertension (16%) and prematurity (16%). Patients requiring airway assistance, were more likely to experience an adverse event (p=0.0001) and invasive ventilation was associated with an increased risk for a poor outcome (p=0.00). Conclusion: The majority of children requiring access to a paediatric ICU are younger than one year of age. The common causes of death are acute lower respiratory tract infections, acute gastroenteritis, prematurity and neonatal asphyxia. A regional hospital in South Africa should offer intensive care to children as the majority of their admissions can be successfully cared for without transfer to tertiary hospitals. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting admissions and outcome of neonates and children cared for in a mixed intensive care unit in a large regional hospital in South Africa. This study suggests that large regional hospitals in South Africa should have mixed intensive care units to improve child survival.

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