Original Research

Appropriateness of admissions of children with cancer to intensive care facilities in a resource-limited setting

Nadia Beringer, Janet E. Poole, Daynia E. Ballot, Jennifer A. Geel
South African Journal of Oncology | Vol 1 | a26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajo.v1i0.26 | © 2017 Nadia Beringer, Janet E. Poole, Daynia E. Ballot, Jennifer A. Geel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 July 2017 | Published: 28 September 2017

About the author(s)

Nadia Beringer, Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, South Africa; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Janet E. Poole, Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, South Africa; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Daynia E. Ballot, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Division of Neonatology and Paediatric Intensive Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Jennifer A. Geel, Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, South Africa; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The increasing intensity of treatment of paediatric malignancies has led to improved survival rates, but often necessitates intensive supportive care. The decision to admit a child to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is based on the probability of both short-term and long-term survival in the context of severe resource constraints. Resource constraints in South Africa result in limited access of children with cancer to PICU facilities.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine whether referrals by paediatric oncologists to a PICU in Johannesburg were appropriate by analysing indications for admission, underlying diagnoses, duration and costs of admissions, and overall outcomes.
Methods: A retrospective review of consecutive PICU admissions over a 12-year period was performed. Data from all patients with histologically proven malignant conditions were included and analysed using descriptive statistical methods, Kaplan–Meier curves, log-rank analysis and Fisher’s exact test.
Results: There were 5704 recorded admissions to PICU in the study period. Of these admissions, 120 (2.1%) were for patients with malignancies. The majority of PICU oncology admissions were for post-operative care, and the median duration of stay was 1 day (interquartile range: 1–3 days). The short-term mortality rate of oncology patients in PICU was 13.3% in comparison with 16.2% in the overall PICU population. The 4-year overall survival rate post PICU discharge was 54%.
Conclusion: The documented short-term mortality rate indicates that referrals by paediatric oncologists are consistent with current PICU admission policies. Oncologists should assess the prognosis for survival before requesting admission to PICU, and, resources permitting, these patients should be accepted to PICU.

Keywords

PICU; oncology; survival; cost to state; cost to patient

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Crossref Citations

1. A comparison between raw and predicted mortality in a paediatric intensive care unit in South Africa
Daynia Elizabeth Ballot, Tanusha Ramdin, Debbie Ann White, Jeffrey Lipman
BMC Research Notes  vol: 11  issue: 1  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1186/s13104-018-3946-9