Clinical Features and Risk Factors for Mortality in Children With Acute Encephalitis Who Present to the Emergency Department

J Child Neurol. 2020 Jun 8;883073820930557. doi: 10.1177/0883073820930557. Online ahead of print.


Acute encephalitis is an important pediatric emergency that tends to be associated with neurological morbidity, critical illness, and mortality. Few data have specifically focused on evaluating various early clinical parameters in the pediatric emergency department as candidate predictors of mortality. The present retrospective study assessed the clinical, laboratory, and neuroimaging findings of children with acute encephalitis who presented to the emergency department. Of 158 patients diagnosed with encephalitis, 7 (4.4%) had mortality. Compared to the survivors, a multivariate analysis revealed that an initial Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 5 (odds ratio [OR]: 8.3, P = .022), acute necrotizing encephalitis (OR: 12.1, P = .01), white blood count level ≤ 5.2 × 109 cells/L (OR: 28.7, P < .001), aspartate aminotransferase level > 35 U/L (OR: 14.3, P = .022), and influenza A infection (OR: 7.7, P = .027) were significantly associated with mortality. These results indicate that the early recognition of preliminary clinical features and the development of more specific etiologies for encephalitis are important for early treatment strategies.

Keywords: children; encephalitis; outcome; risk factor; seizure.