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Infectious Diseases - Public Health and Epidemiology - Respiratory Medicine

Limiting Severe Outcomes and Impact on Intensive Care Units of Moderate-Intermediate 2009 Pandemic Influenza: Role of Infectious Diseases Units
Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Author: Sergio Carbonara et al.

by Sergio Carbonara, Giuseppe Bruno, Giuseppe Di Ciaula, Anna Donata Pantaleo, Gioacchino Angarano, Laura Monno


The rate of severe outcomes of patients with 2009 pandemic (A/H1N1) influenza (2009pI) hospitalized in non-intensive care units (ICUs) has not been defined thus far. This study aims to assess the efficacy of the management of patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) of moderate intermediate severity in an infectious diseases unit (IDU) during the first wave of 2009pI and its influence on the burden of ICUs.


All patients hospitalized from October 27, 2009, to February 5, 2010, with ILI were included in this prospective observational study. The IDU was organized and the staff was trained to provide intermediate care; patients were transferred to the ICU only if they required invasive ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or advanced cardiovascular support. Demographic data, clinical presentation, coexisting medical conditions, and laboratory and radiological findings were recorded and analyzed, as well as treatment and outcome data.


Overall, 108 patients (median age 36 years [IQR 27–54], 57.4% males) including 66.7% with =1 risk factor for severe influenza, 47.2% with confirmed 2009pI by RT-PCR and 63.9% with pneumonia, were enrolled in the study. All subjects received intravenous fluids and 83.3% were administered oseltamivir, 96.3% antibacterials, 19.4% oxygen therapy without ventilatory support, and 10.2% non-invasive ventilation. A total of 106 (98.1%) subjects were discharged after a 6-day median hospital stay [IQR 4–9]. Two patients (1.9%) were transferred to the ICU. There were no deaths.


These results suggest that the aggressive treatment of patients with moderate intermediate severity 2009 pandemic ILI in non-ICU wards may result in a low rate of severe outcomes and brief hospitalization. IDUs, if properly organized for intermediate care, may efficiently provide correct disease management, in addition to complying with infection control requirements, thus reducing the burden of the pandemic on ICUs. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the outcome of patients with moderate intermediate 2009pI in different non-ICU settings.