High mortality from respiratory failure secondary to swine-origin influenza a (h1n1) in south africa
Background: The novel influenza A (H1N1) pandemic affected South Africa late during the 2009 Southern hemisphere winter and placed an extra burden on a health care system already dealing with a high prevalence of chronic lung diseases and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiological characteristics, clinical features, management and outcomes of patients with confirmed influenza A (H1N1) infection complicated by respiratory failure.Methods: We included all adult patients with confirmed influenza A (H1N1) infection that were referred to the medical intensive care unit of a large academic hospital in Cape Town for ventilatory support in this prospective observational study.Results: A total of 19 patients (39.5 ± 14.8 years) needed ventilatory support over a 6-week period. Of these, 15 were female and 16 had identifiable risk factors for severe disease, including pregnancy (n = 6), type 2 diabetes mellitus (n = 6), obesity (n = 4), HIV infection (n = 3), immunosuppressive therapy (n = 3) and active pulmonary tuberculosis (n = 2). The most frequent complications were acute renal failure (n = 13), acute respiratory distress syndrome (n = 12) and ventilator associated pneumonia (n = 10). Thirteen patients died (mortality: 68.4%). Fatal cases were significantly associated with an APACHE II score >20 (P = 0.034), but not with a PaO2/FIO2 <200 (P = 0.085) and a chest radiograph score >12 (P = 0.134).Conclusions: The majority of patients with respiratory failure secondary to influenza A (H1N1) infection were young females and had an underlying risk factor for severe disease. The condition had a high mortality, particularly amongst patients with an APACHE II score >20. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Physicians. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.