Objective: This population-based, prospective, cohort study was designed to determine the population incidence and outcomes of pediatric acute lung injury.
Methods: Between 1999 and 2000, 1 year of screening was performed at all hospitals admitting critically ill children in King County, Washington. County residents 0.5 to 15 years of age who required invasive (through endotracheal tube or tracheostomy) or noninvasive (through full face mask) mechanical ventilation, regardless of the duration of mechanical ventilation, were screened. From this population, children meeting North American-European Consensus Conference acute lung injury criteria were eligible for enrollment. Postoperative patients who received mechanical ventilation for <24 hours were excluded. Data collected included the presence of predefined cardiac conditions, demographic and physiological data, duration of mechanical ventilation, and deaths. US Census population figures were used to estimate incidence. Associations between outcomes and subgroups identified a priori were assessed.
Results: Thirty-nine children met the criteria for acute lung injury, resulting in a calculated incidence of 12.8 cases per 100000 person-years. Severe sepsis (with pneumonia as the infection focus) was the most common risk factor. The median 24-hour Pediatric Risk of Mortality III score was 9.0, and the mean +/- SD was 11.7 +/- 7.5. The hospital mortality rate was 18%, lower than that reported previously for pediatric acute lung injury. There were no statistically significant associations between age, gender, or risk factors and outcomes.
Conclusions: We present the first population-based estimate of pediatric acute lung injury incidence in the United States. Population incidence and mortality rates are lower than those for adult acute lung injury. Low mortality rates in pediatric acute lung injury may necessitate clinical trial outcome measures other than death.