Hospital Admissions from the Emergency Department and Subsequent Critical Care Interventions for Influenza during Pregnancy

Am J Perinatol. 2021 May 3. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1727218. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The objectives of this study were to determine (1) whether obstetrical patients were more likely to be admitted from the emergency department (ED) for influenza compared with nonpregnant women, and (2) require critical care interventions once admitted.

Study design: Using data from the 2006 to 2011 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, ED encounters for influenza for women aged 15 to 54 years without underlying chronic medical conditions were identified. Women were categorized as pregnant or nonpregnant using billing codes. Multivariable log linear models were fit to evaluate the relative risk of admission from the ED and the risk of intensive care unit (ICU)-level interventions including mechanical ventilation and central monitoring with pregnancy status as the exposure of interest. Measures of association were described with adjusted risk ratios (aRRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: We identified 15.9 million ED encounters for influenza of which 4% occurred among pregnant women. Pregnant patients with influenza were nearly three times as likely to be admitted as nonpregnant patients (aRR = 2.99, 95% CI: 2.94, 3.05). Once admitted, obstetric patients were at 72% higher risk of ICU-level interventions (aRR = 1.72, 95% CI: 1.61, 1.84). Of pregnant women admitted from the ED, 9.3% required ICU-level interventions such as mechanical ventilation or central monitoring. Older patients and those with Medicare were also at high risk of admission and ICU-level interventions (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Pregnancy confers three times the risk of admission from the ED for influenza and pregnant women are significantly more likely to require ICU-level medical interventions compared with women of similar age. These findings confirm the significant disease burden from influenza in the obstetric population and the public health importance of reducing infection risk.

Key points: · Pregnancy confers three times the risk of admission from the ED for influenza.. · Pregnant women admitted with influenza are significantly more likely to require ICU-level care.. · Influenza represents a significant disease burden in the obstetric population.