Acute and chronic paediatric intensive care patients: current trends and perspectives on resource utilization

QJM. 2004 Aug;97(8):507-18. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hch087.


Background: Advances in paediatric critical care have resulted in increased survival of critically ill patients, many of whom require long-term ventilation as a means of life support.

Aim: To determine current trends in resource utilization, and problems in the care of acute and chronic paediatric intensive care patients.

Design: Open observational study.

Methods: We evaluated consecutive admissions (n = 1629) to a 10-bed paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) over a 5-year period. Three previously defined criteria for resource utilization were used: mean length of stay (LOS); length of mechanical ventilation (LOMV); and LOMV/LOS ratio.

Results: A total of 10 310 patient bed days and 5223 ventilator days were used. Mean LOS increased from 5.3 +/- 12 days in 1998 to 8.7 +/- 27 days in 2001 (p < 0.05). Although LOMV/LOS ratio (50.7%) was significantly correlated with Paediatric Risk of Mortality score (p < 0.0001), there was no significant change in mortality rate (12.6% vs. 12%). Patients hospitalized for >2 weeks (n = 320, 20%) used 55% of LOS and 57% of LOMV, in contrast to the 1298 (80%) hospitalized for <7 days, who used only 29% of LOS and 20% of LOMV. Patients hospitalized for >3 months (11, 0.7%) consumed 17% of LOS and 23% of LOMV. Five of these (45%) were eventually discharged home, two on ventilators.

Conclusion: The increasing trend of occupation of PICU bed and ventilator days by critically ill children may be related to the increasing trend for hospitalization of chronic care patients. Severity scoring systems were predictive of resource consumption, but not of the overall trend in mortality rate.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / mortality
  • Acute Disease / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease / mortality
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Resources / trends
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index