Study objective: To investigate the clinical features and prognosis of patients with coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (CWP) requiring invasive mechanical ventilation (MV) in the ICU for their first episode of acute respiratory failure (ARF), with special attention to the prognostic implication of radiographic progressive massive fibrosis (PMF).
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: A 16-bed medical ICU at a community hospital.
Patients and methods: We reviewed 53 patients with CWP and ARF requiring invasive MV in the ICU for the first time between August 1998 and March 2002.
Results: Of the 53 patients with CWP, 28 patients (53%) with PMF had their first ARF at a younger age than those without PMF (69.1 ± 7.9 years vs 74.8 ± 7.2 years, p = 0.008 [mean ± SD]). Pneumonia (49%) was the most common cause of ARF. The mean APACHE (acute physiology and chronic health evaluation) II score was 26.0 ± 9.9, and the mean ICU stay was 14.7 ± 16.1 days. Twenty-one patients (40%) were weaned successfully in the ICU, with mean ventilator time of 17.0 ± 25.1 days. The ICU and in-hospital mortality rates were 40% and 43%, respectively. The median survivals for all patients and the ICU survivors were 2.6 months and 14.3 months, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed the following risk (or protective) factors for the ICU mortality: Paco2 > 45 mm Hg at the time of intubation (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.003 to 0.44), Pao2/fraction of inspired oxygen ratio < 200 mm Hg at the time of intubation (OR, 8.78; 95% CI, 1.36 to 56.48), and APACHE II score ≥ 25 (OR, 11.99; 95% CI, 1.49 to 96.78). PMF was not associated with the ICU mortality (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.20 to 7.10).
Conclusions: Radiographic PMF was not associated with the ICU mortality in patients with CWP and ARF receiving invasive MV in the ICU. Although a substantial proportion of them could be weaned from the ventilator and discharged from the hospital, their long-term prognosis was poor.