[Pediatric intensive care in Latin America]

Med Intensiva. 2012 Jan-Feb;36(1):3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.medin.2011.07.004. Epub 2011 Sep 8.
[Article in Spanish]


Objective: To describe the practice of pediatric intensive care in Latin America and compare it with two European countries.

Design: Analysis of data presented by member countries of the Sociedad Latinoamericana de Cuidado Intensivo Pediátrico (SLACIP), Spain and Portugal, in the context of a Symposium of Spanish and Portuguese - speaking pediatric intensivists during the Fifth World Congress on Pediatric Intensive Care.

Setting: Pediatric intensive care units (PICUs).

Participants: Pediatric intensivists in representation of each member country of the SLACIP, Spain and Portugal.

Interventions: None.

Variables of interest: Each country presented its data on child health, medical facilities for children, pediatric intensive care units, pediatric intensivists, certification procedures, equipment, morbidity, mortality, and issues requiring intervention in each participating country.

Results: Data from 11 countries was analyzed. Nine countries were from Latin America (Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, México, Dominican Republic and Uruguay), and two from Europe (Spain and Portugal). Data from Bolivia and Guatemala were partially considered. Populational, institutional, and operative differences were identified. Mean PICU mortality was 13.29% in Latin America and 5% in the European countries (P=0.005). There was an inverse relationship between mortality and availability of pediatric intensive care units, pediatric intensivists, number of beds, and number of pediatric specialty centers. Financial and logistic limitations, as well as deficiencies in support disciplines, severity of diseases, malnutrition, late admissions, and inadequate initial treatments could be important contributors to mortality at least in some of these countries.

Conclusion: There are important differences in population, morbidity and mortality in critically ill children among the participating countries. Mortality shows an inverse correlation to the availability of pediatric intensive care units, intensive care beds, pediatric intensivists, and pediatric subspecialty centers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / supply & distribution
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / organization & administration
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / supply & distribution
  • Latin America
  • Patient Admission
  • Pediatrics / education
  • Portugal
  • Societies, Medical
  • Spain
  • Technology, High-Cost / statistics & numerical data
  • Workforce