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 1mcg/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.

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Pediatric Pulmonology
Department of Pediatrics

Boeschoten, S.A. (Shelley A.), Buysse, C.M.P, Merkus, P.J.F.M, van Wijngaarden, J.M.C. (Jacob M. C.), Heisterkamp, S.G.J. (Sabien G. J.), de Jongste, J.C, … de Hoog, M. (2018). Children with severe acute asthma admitted to Dutch PICUs: A changing landscape. Pediatric Pulmonology. doi:10.1002/ppul.24009