Demographics and predictors of mortality in children undergoing resuscitation at Khayelitsha Hospital, Western Cape, South Africa
Background. The clinical outcomes of paediatric patients requiring resuscitation depend on physicians with specialised knowledge, equipment and resources owing to their unique anatomy, physiology and pathology. Khayelitsha Hospital (KH) is a government hospital located near Cape Town, South Africa, that sees ~44 000 casualty unit patients per year and regularly functions at more than 130% of the bed occupancy. Many of these patients are children requiring resuscitation.
Objectives. We sought to describe characteristics of children under the age of 12 who required resuscitation upon presentation to KH, determine predictors of mortality, and compare paediatric volume to specialist physician presence in the unit.
Methods. A retrospective chart review was performed on patients younger than 12 years who were treated in the resuscitation area of KH during the six-month period from 1 November 2014 to 30 April 2015.
Results. A total 317 patients were enrolled in the study with a median age of 14 months. The top 5 diagnoses were: pneumonia (n=58/317); neonatal sepsis (n=40/317); seizures (n=37/317); polytrauma (n=32/317); and acute gastroenteritis complicated by septic shock (n=28/317). Overall mortality was 7% (n=21/317) and mortality in children less than 1 month of age was 12% (n=5/42). Premature birth was associated with a mortality odds ratio of 8.44 (p=0.002). More than two-thirds (73%; n=231/317) of paediatric resuscitations occurred when specialist physicians were not physically present in the unit.
Conclusion. The study findings indicate that children under one month of age with a history of prematurity are at high risk and may benefit most from paediatric-specific expertise and rapid transfer to a higher level of care.