Pediatric Intensive Care in PICUs and Adult ICUs: A 2-Year Cohort Study in Finland*

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To investigate the association between the type of ICU and mortality for children treated at PICUs and adult ICUs.


This was a national multicenter cohort study. Data were collected from electronic critical care data management systems at 3 units and from national intensive care registries at 26 units.


We assessed the incidence of admissions, length of stay at ICUs, main diagnoses, and mortality for children at ICUs. Units were categorized as PICUs or as adult ICUs located at university hospitals or at non-academic central hospitals.


Children younger than 17 years of age treated at ICUs in Finland.


Not applicable.

Measurements and Main Results:

There were 4,876 admissions from 2009 to 2010, and 98.9% of patients survived until unit discharge. The mean length of stay was 3.0 ± 7.4 days; 1,395 patients (35%) required mechanical ventilation at PICUs versus 167 (35%) at adult university hospital ICUs versus 79 (19%) at central hospital ICUs (p < 0.001). The odds for mortality in univariate regression analysis were emergency admission (odds ratio, 3.99; 95% CI, 1.82–8.76), cardiovascular (odds ratio, 7.84; 95% CI, 3.49–22.88), gastrointestinal (odds ratio, 5.37; 95% CI, 1.45–19.88), acute infections (odds ratio, 2.83; 95% CI, 1.23–6.48), hematologic/oncologic disease (odds ratio, 10.32; 95% CI, 3.14–33.86), and nonsurgical trauma (odds ratio, 3.53; 95% CI, 1.19–10.41). Treatment at adult ICUs had higher odds of mortality compared with PICUs (university hospital: odds ratio, 3.93; 95% CI, 1.85–8.35 and central hospital: odds ratio, 3.91; 95% CI, 1.69–9.05), adjusted for readmission less than 48 hours after discharge, emergency admission, mechanical ventilation, and diagnostic group.


Pediatric patients treated at PICUs showed lower mortality. Requirement of mechanical ventilation, emergency admission, and readmission less than 48 hours after discharge and cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, acute infections, hematologic/oncologic disease, and nonsurgical trauma were associated with higher risk of mortality.

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