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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2008 Sep;52(8):1086-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2008.01711.x.

Immediate and 5-year cumulative outcome after paediatric intensive care in Sweden.

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Department of Paediatric Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Karolinska Institutet, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



Little has been reported about intensive care of children in Sweden. The aims of this study are to (I) assess the number of admissions, types of diagnoses and length-of-stay (LOS) for all Swedish children admitted to intensive care during the years 1998-2001, and compare paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) with other intensive care units (adult ICUs) (II) assess immediate (ICU) and cumulative 5-year mortality and (III) determine the actual consumption of paediatric intensive care for the defined age group in Sweden.


Children between 6 months and 16 years of age admitted to intensive care in Sweden were included in a national multicentre, ambidirectional cohort study. In PICUs, data were also collected for infants aged 1-6 months. Survival data were retrieved from the National Files of Registration, 5 years after admission.


Eight-thousand sixty-three admissions for a total of 6661 patients were identified, corresponding to an admission rate of 1.59/1000 children per year. Median LOS was 1 day. ICU mortality was 2.1% and cumulative 5-year mortality rate was 5.6%. Forty-four per cent of all admissions were to a PICU.


This study has shown that Sweden has a low immediate ICU mortality, similar in adult ICU and PICU. Patients discharged alive from an ICU had a 20-fold increased mortality risk, compared with a control cohort for the 5-year period. Less than half of the paediatric patients admitted for intensive care in Sweden were cared for in a PICU. Studies are needed to evaluate whether a centralization of paediatric intensive care in Sweden would be beneficial to the paediatric population.

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