Bacterial tracheitis is the most common paediatric airway emergency requiring admission to the regional paediatric intensive care unit in northern Ireland. We reviewed 89 admissions to our unit with the diagnosis beteen 1998 and 2008, with a view to informing local prescribing and management. Information was gathered about causative organisms, as well as clinical features, diagnostic methods and management. A variety of bacterial causes were found, the most common being Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae, among several others. Virological testing was carried out on 48% of patients, and 50% were positive for at least one virus, highlighting the aetiological role thay play in the condition. A number of different viruses were found including parainfluenza, adenovirus and influenza.
52% of our patients were diagnosed in and transferred from district hospitals in the region. We present our findings in relation to the diagnosis and management of these patients and our recommedations for improving practice, both at the point of presentation and in PICU.