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, 59 (12), 828-31

Chickenpox: Presentation and Complications in Adults

  • PMID: 20201174

Chickenpox: Presentation and Complications in Adults

Ali Hassan Abro et al. J Pak Med Assoc.


Objective: To describe the clinical manifestations laboratory findings and frequency of complications in adult chickenpox patients admitted in the hospital.

Methods: This was a hospital based descriptive study, conducted at the Infectious Diseases Unit, Rashid Hospital Dubai, UAE, from March 2005 to February 2008. The study was designed to include demographics (age, sex, nationality); clinical information, radiological and biochemical changes observed in each patient and data was entered into the proforma separately. Full blood count, urea, electrolytes and blood sugar were done for all the patients, whereas, other tests were carried out when and where it was indicated. Patients were treated according to the standard protocol for the management of Chickenpox and its complications.

Results: A total of 102 adult patients were entered into the study. The main presenting symptoms were itchy skin rash, fever, cough, sputum, breathlessness, throat pain, vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion and headache. Whereas, the most common complications observed were raised Alanine aminotransferases (ALT) levels (51.9%) and the levels were greater than 10-folds of normal value in 4.9%, thrombocytopenia (42.1%), varicella pneumonia (28.4%), skin infection (25.4%), septicaemia (10.7%), Encephalitis/Meningitis (8.8%), Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) (6.8%), acute renal failure (2.9%) and acute hepatic failure (1.9%). The frequency of varicella pneumonia was noted to be higher in males, older age group (p < .005), smokers (p < .002) and patients with respiratory symptoms (p < .0001). Total five (4.9%) patients expired, whereas, mortality rate was 17.2% in varicella pneumonia patients and 45.5% in mechanically ventilated patients.

Conclusion: Chickenpox in adults causes severe systemic manifestations leading to high frequency of complications with increased mortality rate, particularly in the older age group and in smokers who develops varicella pneumonia and require mechanical ventilation.

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