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Volume 48, Number 2, April 2015

A population-based analysis of children with pneumonia among intensive care units in Taiwan 

Chien-Lun Hsu, Yu-Sheng Lee, Chun-Jen Chen, Ming-Luen Lee, Chia-Feng Yang, Wen-Jue Soong, Mei-Jy Jeng, Keh-Gong Wu

Received: April 30, 2013    Revised: June 27, 2013    Accepted: July 19, 2013   


Corresponding author:

Keh-Gong Wu
Corresponding authors. Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 201, Section 2, Shih-Pai Road, Taipei 112, Taiwan. 


Background and purpose: 

Pneumonia is a major diagnosis in children that requires intensive care and is a major cause of mortality in critically ill children. A survey on current epidemiology and case fatality–associated conditions is crucial for the care of critically ill children with pneumonia in an intensive care unit (ICU). 



The sex, age, seasonality of admission, area of distribution, and case fatality rate of children younger than 18 years who had pneumonia and were admitted to an ICU during the period 2006–2010 were obtained from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) of Taiwan. The enrolled children were grouped by age (0–2 years, 3–5 years, 6–11 years, and 12–17 years). The need for invasive procedures such as endotracheal tube (ET) insertion, mechanical ventilation (MV), tracheostomy, central venous catheter (CVC) insertion, chest tube insertion/drainage, chest surgery, and extracorporeal membranous oxygenation (ECMO) were analyzed to clarify their association with case fatality in critically ill children with pneumonia. 



Of the 12,577 children enrolled, 7131 (56.7%) were boys and 5446 (43.3%) were girls. The younger age groups had more cases of pneumonia, but less often required invasive procedures. Children 0–2 years old (n = 6083) accounted for approximately one-half (48.4%) of all enrolled children. This group had the lowest case fatality rate (3.1%; 187/6083 children) and lowest need for invasive procedures (31.1%; 1892/6083 children), whereas children in the 12–17 year-old group had the highest case fatality rate (9.9%; 140/1417 children) and the highest need for invasive procedures (59.8%; 847/1417 children) (p < 0.001). The percentage of pneumonia cases was highest in the spring (30.1%) and lowest in the summer (21.7%). The invasive procedures associated with case fatality were ET/MV (OR, 14.31; p < 0.001), CVC insertion (OR, 7.46; p < 0.001), ECMO intervention (OR, 4.59; p < 0.001), and chest tube insertion/drainage (OR, 1.87; p < 0.001). 



The number of cases of pneumonia that required ICU admission was greater among younger children than among older children. Factors associated with the higher case fatality rate included older age at presentation, the need for invasive procedures (e.g., ET/MV, CVC insertion, chest tube insertion/drainage, and ECMO), underlying comorbidities and complications. 


Key words:

Children, Intensive care unit, National Health Insurance Research Database, Pneumonia