Background: Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) is a major cause of mortality in PICUs in industrialized countries. As developing countries become more advanced, PICU care comes into reach. The aim of this study was to examine MODS in a PICU in China in comparison with other countries.
Methods: A retrospective 5-year audit (2001–2006) of MODS cases in a 6-bed PICU in the Second Hospital of Lanzhou University, China.
Results: Of the 332 PICU patients, 176 (53%) had MODS; the mean age was 35 months, and 60% were <1 year of age. Infectious diseases were the predominant factor underlying MODS (128/176; 73%) with 24% attributable to potentially vaccine preventable infections (14 to Haemophilus influenzae b, 13 to Streptococcus pneumoniae, and 4 to Neisseria meningitidis). The case fatality rate for MODS was 49% with no difference between infectious or noninfectious causes (48% vs. 52%; P > 0.05). The frequency of organ dysfunction in MODS was in decreasing order: respiratory (95%), cardiovascular (89%), gastrointestinal (39%), neurologic (35%), hematologic (16%), renal (14%), and hepatic (4%) systems. Mortality rose with increasing number of organs involved. Gastrointestinal system failure was more common in MODS caused by infection than noninfection (45% vs. 23%; P <0.01) and had a higher mortality (72% vs. 34%; P < 0.001). The case fatality rate for MODS in this study was comparable to rates in other developing countries but higher than in industrialized countries.
Conclusions: MODS is a major cause of mortality in PICU patients in China. In China, infection-related MODS PICU cases could potentially be reduced to rates closer to those in industrialized countries, if conjugated H. influenzae b and conjugated pneumococcal vaccines were introduced into routine practice.