Objectives: Dengue shock syndrome is a leading cause of mortality among Indian children. In January 2000, we instituted a protocol for aggressive management of children with dengue shock syndrome. The objective of this study was to compare outcomes (duration of ventilation, pediatric intensive care unit stay, incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome, and intensive care unit and hospital mortality) before and after the protocol.
Design: Retrospective chart review.
Setting: Pediatric intensive care unit at a tertiary teaching hospital.
Patients: One hundred and fourteen patients admitted between July 1997 and December 1999 received standard therapy recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and were designated as the WHO guidelines group (W), whereas 96 patients admitted between January 2000 and December 2001 were treated by our protocol and designated as the protocol group (P).
Measurements and main results: The patients in each group were equally matched in terms of age, Pediatric Risk of Mortality, and number with dengue hemorrhage fever grade IV, although the platelet counts were higher in the W group compared with the P group (geometric mean 42.2, confidence interval 36.9, 48.4 vs. geometric mean 36.7, confidence interval 33.3, 40.5, p < .05). Patients in the W group received less fluids in the first hour compared with the P group (median and interquartile range 20 mL/kg, 15 and 20 vs. 30 mL/kg, 20 and 60). Fluid was actively removed less often in the W group than the P group (6 of 111 vs. 45 of 96, p < .05). There was no difference in the need for ventilation or incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome between groups, although among dengue hemorrhage fever grade IV patients, the number requiring ventilation (17 of 30 vs. 20 of 23, p < .05) and the incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome (9 of 30 vs. 17 of 23, p < .05) were significantly greater in the W group compared with the P group. The duration of ventilation (1.5 +/- 1.7 vs. 4.2 +/- 2.9 days, p < .05) and length of intensive care unit stay (3.0 +/- 2.8 vs. 3.4 +/- 2.9 days, p < .05) were significantly less in the W group. The pediatric intensive care unit mortality (16.6% vs. 6.3%, p < .05) was significantly higher in the W group than in the P group.
Conclusions: Patients with dengue shock syndrome are at high risk of mortality due to refractory shock and multiple organ failure. Survival was better for patients in the P group. Aggressive shock management and possibly the use of judicious fluid removal may decrease mortality rates in the severest forms of dengue shock syndrome.