PURPOSE: Acute medical care is the primary goal of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Another potential benefit of admission to the PICU for patients (pts) with chronic diseases is the initiation of long-term therapies which may improve survival. We call this use of the ICU to initiate beneficial chronic therapies “forward-directed ICU care” (FDIC). We hypothesized that pts with severe Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) who start long-term noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) during acute respiratory illness in the PICU may benefit by prolonged survival (an example of FDIC).
METHODS: Retrospective chart review of all pts with DMD who had NPPV initiated in our PICU during the time period 9/93 to 3/01. Definition of prolonged survival: survival for > 5 yrs after fall in vital capacity below 1 liter (Phillips et al, AJRCCM, 2001).
RESULTS: 9 pts with DMD started NPPV in the PICU during the time period. Reason for admission: pneumonia (7 pts), acute respiratory failure (2 pts). Age at NPPV initiation: 18.0 +/− 4.6 yrs (all data mean +/− SD). 8 of 9 pts are alive and 7 pts still use NPPV, 5 of them 24 hrs/day. One pt required tracheostomy after 5.6 yrs on NPPV. Current age of survivors: 27.2 +/− 5.4 yrs. Duration of NPPV use (to current date for 7 pts; to date of tracheostomy or death for 1 pt each): 8.9 +/− 2.7 yrs. Mean survival with NPPV after vital capacity fell below 1 liter: 7.4 +/− 4.1 yrs (with 6 of 9 pts thusfar surviving > 5 yrs after v.c. fell below 1 liter).
CONCLUSION: Initiation of NPPV during acute illness in the PICU resulted in prolonged survival for most of our 9 pts with severe DMD, and the majority of them now use NPPV 24 hrs/day.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This use of the acute care setting of the PICU to initiate a therapy with long-term benefit is an example of forward-directed ICU care or FDIC, a concept with potential applications to many chronic illnesses.
DISCLOSURE: Grace Paul, None.