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Incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome: a comparison of two definitions


OBJECTIVES To determine the incidence and outcome of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in children by comparing two commonly used definitions: the lung injury score and the American-European Consensus Conference definition. The causes and risk for developing ARDS were also studied.

METHODS Part prospective and retrospective analysis of 8100 consecutive hospital admissions from 1 June 1995 to 1 April 1997.

RESULTS Twenty one patients fulfilled the criteria for ARDS. Both definitions identified the same group of patients. The incidence was 2.8/1000 hospital admissions or 4.2% of paediatric intensive care unit admissions. The main causes were sepsis and pneumonia. Mortality was 13 of 21. Factors predicting death were a high admission paediatric risk of mortality (PRISM) score (30.38 v 18.75) and the presence of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (92%v 25%).

CONCLUSION Both definitions identified similar groups of patients. The incidence in this population was higher than that reported elsewhere, but mortality and cause were similar to those in developed countries. Poor outcome was associated with sepsis, a high admission PRISM score, and simultaneous occurrence of other organ dysfunction.

  • acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • lung injury score
  • American-European Consensus Conference

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