[Prognostic factors of hospital mortality from diarrhea or pneumonia in infants younger than 1 year old. A case-control study]

Rev Saude Publica. 1992 Dec;26(6):369-78. doi: 10.1590/s0034-89101992000600001.
[Article in Portuguese]


Diarrhea and pneumonia are common diseases in children aged under one year, for which there are simple therapeutic measures. However, infant mortality due to these diseases is still very high, varying markedly according to socio-economic status. The characteristics of children who died (cases) and of those who were hospitalized with diarrhea or pneumonia, but survived (controls), were studied. The following groups of variables were studied: socio-economic, environmental and biological conditions, nutritional status and breast-feeding. Information on cases and controls was collected from hospital records and through home interviews. Important losses occurred in the latter: 40% of cases and 50% of controls were not interviewed. There were no significant differences between cases who were included and those who were not, in terms of age, sex or place of residence. To estimate relative risks of prognostic factors unconditional Logistic Regression was used to calculate the odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals. Prematurity, low birth weight, weight/age deficit, presence of edema and poor general status at hospital admission were prognostic factors for hospital case-fatality. In relation to the anthropometric variables, it was not possible to conclude for certain whether the increased case-fatality was linearly or non-linearly (threshold) associated with nutritional deficit. The duration of breast-feeding was only associated with case-fatality for pneumonia. Socio-economic factors were not important for the prognosis of children admitted to hospital with diarrhea or pneumonia. Some of the expected risk factor associations were not detected, maybe due to the small sample size (resulting from the high losses) which was insufficient to show small differences. In this study the biological conditions of children with diarrhea or pneumonia appeared to be the important prognostic factors for hospital case-fatality.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / mortality*
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pneumonia / mortality*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors