Factors associated with hypoxemia in children infected with pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza virus

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Background:Hypoxemia was found to be a major cause of death from pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza (pH1N1) infection. There are limited data on factors associated with hypoxemia in children infected with pH1N1 influenza virus.Methods:Factors associated with hypoxemia were investigated using univariate and multivariate analysis in 76 hospitalized pediatric patients with laboratory-confirmed H1N1 influenza virus infection at Gyeongsang National University Hospital in Jinju, South Korea, from August 2009 to January 2010 by retrospective chart review.Results:Hypoxemia occurred in 17 children (22%), of whom three were admitted to an intensive care unit and one died. Hypoxemic patients were significantly more likely to have a higher respiratory rate, pulse rate, white blood cell count (WBC), and C-reactive protein level, as well as a longer hospital stay. Respiratory rate and WBC count at admission were independently associated with hypoxemia as determined on multivariate analysis, and this association was found to be clinically significant.Conclusion:Although a higher WBC count and respiratory rate may not be specific for pHINI but represent the degree of disease severity for any infectious respiratory disease in general, clinicians can use these parameters at admission as useful, early indicators of disease severity in pediatric pH1N1 infection.

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