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Long-term ventilation in children: longitudinal trends and outcomes
  1. Catherine M McDougall1,
  2. Robert J Adderley2,
  3. David F Wensley1,2,
  4. Michael D Seear1,2
  1. 1Division of Respiratory Medicine, British Columbia's Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2Division of Critical Care, British Columbia's Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine M McDougall, Department of Respiratory Paediatrics, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Sciennes Road, Edinburgh EH9 1LF, UK; catherine.mcdougall{at}


Background Cross-sectional studies have suggested a rapid expansion in paediatric long-term ventilation (LTV) over the last 20 years but information on longitudinal trends is limited.

Methods Data were collected prospectively on all patients receiving LTV over a 15-year period (1.1.95–31.12.09) in a single regional referral centre.

Results 144 children commenced LTV during the 15-year period. The incidence of LTV increased significantly over time, with an accompanying 10-fold increase in prevalence due to a significant increase in institution of non-invasive ventilation (NIV). There was no significant increase in invasive ventilation. 5-year survival was 94% overall and was significantly higher for patients on NIV (97%) than invasively ventilated patients (84%). 10-year survival was 91% overall. Although some children were able to discontinue respiratory support (21% at 5 years and 42% at 10 years), the number of patients transitioned to adult services increased significantly over time (26% of total cohort). Patients with neuromuscular disease were less likely to discontinue support than other patients.

Conclusions The paediatric LTV population has expanded significantly over 15 years. Future planning of paediatric hospital and community services, as well as adult services, must take into account the needs of this growing population.

  • Respiratory
  • Intensive Care

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