A four-year sibling-matched cohort study conducted at 31 U.S. PICUs and associated neuropsychology testing centers sheds light on the subject. Researchers found that children who survived PICU hospitalization for respiratory failure and were discharged without severe cognitive dysfunction had significantly lower subsequent IQ scores than their matched siblings.
“While the difference in IQ scores between patients and unexposed siblings was small, the data provide strong evidence of the existence and epidemiology of pediatric post-intensive care syndrome (PICS-p) after a single typical episode of acute respiratory failure necessitating invasive ventilation among generally healthy children,” says Martha A.Q. Curley, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) and the study’s lead researcher.
The study reaffirms the importance of assessing long-term outcomes as part of any trial evaluating acute interventions in pediatric critical care. It also underscores the importance of further study to understand which children may be at highest risk, what modifiable factors could cause it, and how it can be prevented. The results of the study have been published in JAMA. The article “Association of Acute Respiratory Failure in Early Childhood With Long-Term Neurocognitive Outcomes” is available online.