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No greater death risk for children admitted to emergency out-of-hours intensive care
Date:5/2/2013

/7 consultant care may see this as supporting their case."

Professor Elizabeth Draper, co-principal investigator from the University of Leicester, said: "The consistency of the quality of care provision by all paediatric intensive care units at any time during the week will be very reassuring for the parents of children requiring intensive care."

The researchers did identify a near doubling of mortality risk for children admitted outside normal working hours following a planned admission. This increased risk is likely to be related to children who have undergone lengthy, complicated surgery that carries a higher risk of death.

However, the report also found a statistically significant 13 percent increase in deaths in November, December and January.

"The increase in winter mortality is not due to children being sicker in winter, as we have taken that into account in our analysis as far as possible," Professor Draper said.

That leaves open the possibility that strain on units' resources and staff may be having an effect. Paediatric intensive care units often experience high admissions during winter. In particular, the greater incidence of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in very young children during winter puts pressure on services.

Dr Parslow said: "It is not clear why we are seeing this effect in winter. It could be pressure on services, but it could also be that we are looking at a different mix of patients. When units are under great pressure less seriously ill children may be cared for in other specialist areas in the hospital. That would mean the proportion of children in intensive care with life-threatening problems is greater and it is possible that our risk-adjustment model may not fully take this into account. This is a topic for further research."

Out-of-hours admissions were defined as any admission at the weekend, night time or on a bank holiday. Weekends were defined as any time fro
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Contact: Chris Bunting
c.j.bunting@leeds.ac.uk
01-133-433-2049
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

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