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Whooping cough and admission rates

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Early discharge from paediatric intensive care (PICU) increases the risk of readmission and poor outcomes in infants with whooping cough, warn New Zealand researchers.

They studied 72 children admitted to PICU with pertussis over four years. Of these 19 had to be readmitted to the unit. Most subjects were less than 12 months old. Apnoea or paroxysmal cough was present in more than 80% of the children.

The authors said those who were readmitted presented with more atypical disease and had a shorter first admission but went on to need a longer total period in PICU – nine days versus five – compared with those who were not readmitted.

‘Early discharge from PICU is associated with an increased risk of readmission and poor outcome,’ the authors said.

Archives of Disease in Childhood (2007) 92: 970-975

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