Objective: To outline a series of cases demonstrating neurologic complications in children with Influenza infection. The ongoing 2009 influenza A (H1N1) presents significant challenges to the field of pediatric critical care and requires increased awareness of new presentations and sequelae of infection. Since World Health Organization declared a H1N1 pandemic, much attention has been focused on its respiratory manifestations of the illness, but limited information regarding neurologic complications has been reported.
Design: Case series.
Setting: Pediatric intensive care unit of a tertiary care medical facility.
Patients: Four children admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit between March and November 2009 at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh with altered mental status and influenza infection.
Measurements and main results: The clinical course was extracted by chart review and is summarized. All children demonstrated a coryzal prodrome, fever, and altered level of consciousness at admission, and one child presented with clinical seizures. Diagnostic studies performed to establish a diagnosis are summarized. All children had abnormal electroencephalograms early in their intensive care unit course and 50% had abnormal imaging studies. All children survived but 50% had neurologic deficits at hospital discharge.
Conclusion: We conclude that 2009 influenza A (H1N1) can cause significant acute and residual neurologic sequelae. Clinicians should consider Influenza within a comprehensive differential diagnosis in children with unexplained mental status changes during periods of pandemic influenza.