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South Asian children more likely to die in intensive care

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Children of South Asian ethnicity from well-off families are more likely to die in intensive care than other children, research has shown.

Children of South Asian ethnicity from well-off families are more likely to die in intensive care than other children, research has shown.

Findings are based on admissions of under-16 children to 29 paediatric intensive care units across England and Wales between 2004 and 2007.

Researchers calculated admission rates according to levels of deprivation and ethnic background and subsequent risk of death.

During the study, 40,303 were admitted and just under 11% were classified as coming from South Asian background and half of all of these were under 12 months of age.

Data showed that children of South Asian ethnicity were 36% more likely to be admitted to intensive care than children of other ethnicities, based on rates per 100,000 of the population.


Within this group, children in areas of least deprivation were more than twice as likely to die in intensive care as those living in areas of the greatest deprivation.

Authors could find no explanation for the findings. ‘Although there is some evidence that class inequalities in self related health seen in the white population are not apparent in Pakistani and Bangladeshi adults, it is not clear why there is such a strong interaction between less deprived children of South Asian origin and excess mortality,’ they wrote.

Archives of Disease in Childhood (2008)

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