Swine Flu in ICU

A timely follow up to ‘The Two Faces of Swine Flu‘ is ‘Critical Care Services and 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Australia and New Zealand’. This ‘hot off the press’ paper by the ANZIC Influenza Investigators has just been published online in the NEJM.

Background: Planning for the treatment of infection with the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus through health care systems in developed countries during winter in the Northern Hemisphere is hampered by a lack of information from similar health care systems.

Methods We conducted an inception-cohort study in all Australian and New Zealand intensive care units (ICUs) during the winter of 2009 in the Southern Hemisphere. We calculated, per million inhabitants, the numbers of ICU admissions, bed-days, and days of mechanical ventilation due to infection with the 2009 H1N1 virus. We collected data on demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients and on treatments and outcomes.

Results From June 1 through August 31, 2009, a total of 722 patients with confirmed infection with the 2009 H1N1 virus (28.7 cases per million inhabitants; 95% confidence interval [CI], 26.5 to 30.8) were admitted to an ICU in Australia or New Zealand. Of the 722 patients, 669 (92.7%) were under 65 years of age and 66 (9.1%) were pregnant women; of the 601 adults for whom data were available, 172 (28.6%) had a body-mass index (the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) greater than 35. Patients infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus were in the ICU for a total of 8815 bed-days (350 per million inhabitants). The median duration of treatment in the ICU was 7.0 days (interquartile range, 2.7 to 13.4); 456 of 706 patients (64.6%) with available data underwent mechanical ventilation for a median of 8 days (interquartile range, 4 to 16). The maximum daily occupancy of the ICU was 7.4 beds (95% CI, 6.3 to 8.5) per million inhabitants. As of September 7, 2009, a total of 103 of the 722 patients (14.3%; 95% CI, 11.7 to 16.9) had died, and 114 (15.8%) remained in the hospital.

Conclusions The 2009 H1N1 virus had a substantial effect on ICUs during the winter in Australia and New Zealand. Our data can assist planning for the treatment of patients during the winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

www.nejm.org October 8, 2009 (10.1056/NEJMoa0908481)

The full article is free and online here.

  • The ANZIC Influenza Investigators. Critical Care Services and 2009 H1N1 Influenza in Australia and New Zealand. N Engl J Med. 2009 Oct 8. [Epub ahead of print]

The findings have been summarised by Elsevier Global Medical News: H1N1 Spiked ICU Needs During Flu Season in Australia, New Zealand


Life in the Fast Lane ‘swine flu’ posts

Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also the Innovation Lead for the Australian Centre for Health Innovation at Alfred Health and Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of two amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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