Objectives: To investigate presenting features, prognostic factors and outcomes of patients with systemic necrotizing vasculitis (SNV) admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all 210 SNV patients followed in our university hospital and admitted to the ICU between 1982 and 2001, with respect to clinical features, ICU disease severity scores (APACHE II and SAPS II), the Birmingham vasculitis activity score (BVAS), the five-factors score (FFS) and outcomes.
Results: Twenty-six patients (16 men, 10 women) with a mean age of 46.3+/-16.5 yr were included. The reasons for ICU admission were: active SNV, 20 (77%); infection, 3 (12%); others, 3 (12%). SNV was diagnosed in 11 (42%) patients in the ICU. The mean APACHE II and SAPS II scores were significantly higher for patients who died in the ICU (P = 0.01 and P = 0.01 respectively). After a mean follow-up of 31.4+/-29.2 months, the overall mortality rate was 39% (10 patients). Among patients admitted to the ICU with active SNV, BVAS calculated at ICU admission was significantly higher for non-survivors at the end of follow-up (26.9+/-13.0 vs 14.7+/-4.6, P = 0.02).
Conclusion: The main reason for admitting SNV patients to the ICU was active vasculitis, which was often the first manifestation of SNV and led to its diagnosis. ICU disease severity scores at admission were associated with mortality in the ICU but did not predict long-term outcome, unlike BVAS, which accurately predicted long-term outcome but not ICU prognosis for patients admitted to the ICU with active SNV.