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J Trop Pediatr. 2007 Aug;53(4):270-3. Epub 2007 May 25.

Children with human immunodeficiency virus infection admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit in South Africa.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics and Child Health Tygerberg Children's Hospital & Stellenbosch University, South Africa.



Early data regarding the outcome of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children in paediatric intensive care units (PICU) suggested mortality as high as 100%. Recent studies report mortality of 38%. Survival depends on the indication for admission.


To describe the prevalence, duration of stay, and outcome of HIV-infected patients in a single PICU over a 1-year period. Additional objectives included describing the indications for admission as well as the clinical and laboratory characteristics of HIV-infected infants and children requiring PICU admission.


Retrospective chart review of all children with serological proof of HIV admitted to PICU at Tygerberg Children's Hospital from 1 January to 31 December 2003.


Of the 465 patients admitted, 47 (10%) were HIV-infected. For HIV-infected children the median age on admission was 4 months. The median duration of stay was 6 days, significantly longer than for the non-HIV group (p = 0.0001). Fifty-seven percent had advanced clinical and immunological disease. Seventeen died in PICU and four shortly afterwards, poor PICU outcome was significantly associated with HIV status (p = 0.001). Lower total lymphocyte count (p = 0.004) and higher gamma globulin level (p = 0.04) were paradoxically the only findings significantly associated with survival. Acute respiratory failure (ARF) accounted for 76% of admissions, including Pneumocystis jiroveci in 38%. Fifty-one percent had evidence of cytomegalovirus infection.


HIV-infected children requiring PICU can survive despite the lack of availability of antiretroviral therapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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