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Pediatrics. 2006 Jun;117(6):1893-900.

Variation in the use of intracranial-pressure monitoring and mortality in critically ill children with meningitis in the United States.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.



Our goal was to describe patient and hospital characteristics associated with the use of intracranial pressure monitors and outcomes in critically ill children with meningitis.


This was a retrospective cohort study of children 0 to 17 years of age hospitalized with meningitis and requiring mechanical ventilation using the 1997 and 2000 Kids' Inpatient Database. We generated national estimates of rates of intracranial pressure monitoring and in-hospital mortality by patient and hospital characteristics, and compared in-hospital mortality, hospital length of stay, and total charges for children who received an intracranial pressure monitor with those who did not.


There were an estimated 1067 and 1170 hospitalizations nationally for childhood meningitis requiring mechanical ventilation in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Most (79%) of the hospitalizations involved infants. Overall, intracranial-pressure monitors were used in 7% of hospitalizations for meningitis, with the highest rates in children aged 5 to 17 years and lowest rates in children <1 year. In-hospital mortality was 19.6%, highest in children aged 5 to 17 years and in children with pneumococcal infections. In multivariate regression analyses, intracranial pressure monitor use was positively associated with age, patient volume, and hospitals located in the West census region. In-hospital mortality was associated with increasing age, hospitalization in the year 2000, self-pay/other insurance status, and pneumococcal meningitis. There was no difference in hospital mortality associated with use of intracranial pressure monitors, but both length of stay and log-transformed total hospital charges were significantly higher in the group that received an intracranial-pressure monitor.


Intracranial pressure monitoring for the treatment of critically ill children with meningitis varies by census region, the number of cases treated, and patient age. The use of intracranial pressure monitoring was not statistically associated with mortality in this national sample.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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