The number of children requiring pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission for severe acute asthma (SAA) around the world has increased. Objectives: We investigated whether this trend in SAA PICU admissions is present in the Netherlands. Methods: A multicenter retrospective cohort study across all tertiary care PICUs in the Netherlands. Inclusion criteria were children (2-18 years) hospitalized for SAA between 2003 and 2013. Data included demographic data, asthma diagnosis, treatment, and mortality. Results: In the 11-year study period 590 children (660 admissions) were admitted to a PICU with a threefold increase in the number of admissions per year over time. The severity of SAA seemed unchanged, based on the first blood gas, length of stay and mortality rate (0.6%). More children received highflow nasal cannula (P < 0.001) and fewer children needed invasive ventilation (P < 0.001). In 58% of the patients the maximal intravenous (IV) salbutamol infusion rate during PICU admission was 1 mcg/kg/min. However, the number of patients treated with IV salbutamol in the referring hospitals increased significantly over time (P = 0.005). The proportion of steroid-naïve patients increased from 35% to 54% (P = 0.004), with a significant increase in both age groups (2-4 years [P = 0.026] and 5-17 years [P = 0.036]). Conclusions: The number of children requiring PICU admission for SAA in the Netherlands has increased. We speculate that this threefold increase is explained by an increasing number of steroid-naïve children, in conjunction with a lowered threshold for PICU admission, possibly caused by earlier use of salbutamol IV in the referring hospitals.
on behalf of SKIC Dutch collaborative PICU research network (2018). Children with severe acute asthma admitted to Dutch PICUs: A changing landscape. Pediatric Pulmonology, 53(7), 857-865. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppul.24009