, Volume 73, Issue 10, pp 889-895

Clinical features, complications and atypical manifestations of children with severe forms of dengue hemorrhagic fever in South India

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Abstract

Objective

To review clinical features and outcome of children with severe forms of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) presenting to a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) with particular focus on clinical presentation and outcome.

Methods

Retrospective chart review of patients admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of a referral children's hospital in South India with DHF over 1.5 years (2001–January 2003).

Results

Of 858 patients with dengue fever/DHF admitted to the hospital during the study period, 109 cases with severe forms of disease required PICU admission, of which 9 patients died. 77 were under 5 years of age. The commonest indication for PICU admission was persistent shock (39 patients) followed by requirement for positive pressure ventilation in 29 patients (10 of whom had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome [ARDS]) and neurological symptoms in 24 patients. An important finding was the presence of diastolic dysfunction in 3 children. Six deaths of refractory shock included 4 who had ARDS and DIC and 2 who had shock with DIC 3 patients had abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) has not been previously described in children with DSS and may lead to fluid refractory shock if not corrected. All patients had thrombocytopenia which was a defining feature of the syndrome, while 74 were also coagulopathic and 6 had severe fatal DIC. Hepatic dysfunction was more severe in children with prolonged shock, however, only a fifth of cases (5/24) with neurological manifestations were in shock. Other significant reasons for neurological presentation included cerebral edema, and encephalopathy secondary to hepatic dysfunction. 2 children had features of Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), previously only described in adults with dengue.

Conclusion

It was found that complications such as DIC, diastolic dysfunction, abdominal compartment syndrome, ARDS and hepatic dysfunction were more frequent in severe established shock. However, most neurological events were unrelated to the perfusion status. Children referred late were harder to resuscitate. There were 9 PICU deaths (case fatality rate of 8.35%). Severe refractory shock, DIC, ARDS, hepatic failure and neurological manifestations singly or in combination were the commonest causes of death in the present study.