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Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2011 Nov;12(6):e287-91. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e3182191c0b.

Characterization of pediatric patients receiving prolonged mechanical ventilation.

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  • 1Unidad de Cuidados Intensivos, Hospital de Niños Ricardo Gutiérrez, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



To describe the characteristics and risk factors of pediatric patients who receive prolonged mechanical ventilation, defined as ventilatory support for >21 days.


Prospective cohort.


Four medical-surgical pediatric intensive care units in four university-affiliated hospitals in Argentina.


All consecutive patients from 1 month to 15 yrs old admitted to participating pediatric intensive care units from June 1, 2007, to August 31, 2007, who received mechanical ventilation (invasive or noninvasive) for >12 hrs.




Demographic and physiologic data on admission to the pediatric intensive care units, drugs and events during the study period, and outcomes were prospectively recorded. A total of 256 patients were included. Of these, 23 (9%) required mechanical ventilation for >21 days and were assigned to the prolonged mechanical ventilation group. Patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation had higher mortality (43% vs. 21%, p < .05) and longer pediatric intensive care unit stay: 35 days [28-64 days] vs. 10 days [6-14]). There was no difference between the groups in age and gender distribution, reasons for admission, incidence of immunodeficiencies, or Paediatric Index of Mortality 2 score. The only difference at admission was a higher rate of genetic diseases in prolonged mechanical ventilation patients (26% vs. 9%, p < .05). There was a higher incidence of septic shock (87% vs. 34%, p < .01), acute respiratory distress syndrome (43% vs. 20%, p < .01), and ventilator-associated pneumonia (35% vs. 8%, p < .01) and higher utilization of dopamine (78% vs. 42%, p < .01), norepinephrine (61% vs. 15%, p < .01), multiple antibiotics (83% vs. 20%, p < .01), and blood transfusions (52% vs. 14%, p < .01). The proportion of extubation failure was higher in the prolonged mechanical ventilation group with similar rates of unplanned extubations in both groups. Variables remaining significantly associated with prolonged mechanical ventilation after multivariate analysis were treatment with multiple antibiotics, septic shock, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and use of norepinephrine.


Patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation have more complications and require more pediatric intensive care unit resources. Mortality in these patients duplicates that from those requiring shorter support.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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