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Volume 42, Number 6, December 2009

Clinical course and outcome of children with status asthmaticus treated in a pediatric intensive care unit: a 15-year review

Bor-Luen Chiang, Chin-Tung Hsieh, Li-Chieh Wang, Jyh-Hong Lee, Hsin-Hui Yu, Yu-Tsan Lin, Yao-Hsu Yang

Received: July 21, 2007    Revised: January 4, 2008    Accepted: March 1, 2008   


Corresponding author:

Dr. Bor-Luen Chiang, Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hosptial, No. 7 Zhong-Shan South Rd., Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail:


Background and purpose: 

The purpose of this study was to analyze the clinical course and outcomes of children with status asthmaticus treated in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in Taiwan.



The medical charts of all patients aged from 2 to 18 years with status asthmaticus who were admitted to the PICU National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, from 1990 to 2006 were reviewed retrospectively.



Twenty eight children were admitted on 33 occasions; 4 patients had more than 1 admission. The mean age was 6.23 years (range, 2-17 years). No control medication was regularly used prior to admission for 81.8% of the episodes. The mean PICU stay was 2.55 days (range, 1-13 days) and, for 78.8% of episodes, the patients were discharged from the ICU within 2 days. For 11 episodes (33.3%), the patients required mechanical ventilation for a mean duration of 3.6 days. The mortality rate was 3.3% (n = 1). Complications included bronchopneumonia (57.6%), hemodynamic compromise (9.1%), neurologic symptoms (6.1%), and air leak (3.3%). Patients requiring mechanical ventilation had significantly lower initial pulse oximeter oxygen saturation (<90%), lower blood gas pH (<7.25), higher partial pressure of carbon dioxide, and longer duration of PICU and hospital stay (p< 0.05) when compared with patients not requiring mechanical ventilation. For patients with a history of repeated PICU admissions for asthma, the intubation rate was 77.7%.



The prognosis for childhood status asthmaticus is favorable. The most common trigger factors were respiratory tract infection and poor asthma control.


Key words:

Intensive care units, pediatric; Status asthmaticus