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Adverse Drug Events Common in Pediatric Intensive Care Units

Findings seen across three PICUs in England, but analysis shows events are largely preventable

FRIDAY, Dec. 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Adverse drug events (ADEs) are common in English pediatric intensive care units (PICUs), but are largely preventable, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Anwar A. Alghamdi, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed the incidence, nature, preventability, and severity of ADEs across three PICUs in England in 2019.

Among 302 patients, the researchers identified 62 confirmed ADEs (definite/probable causality), with one in six patients experiencing one or more ADEs. The incidence of ADEs was estimated at 20.5 per 100 patients and 16.7 per 1,000 patient-days. An expert panel judged the majority of ADEs (58 percent) as preventable. The medications most commonly implicated in ADEs involved the central nervous system (22.6 percent), infections (20.9 percent), and cardiovascular system (19.4 percent). Patients staying in the PICU for seven or more days were more likely to experience an ADE (odds ratio, 6.29) versus patients with a stay of one to six days.

“ADEs are common in English PICUs and most of them may be preventable. There is a strong association between ADE occurrence and duration of PICU stay, which represents a target for remedial interventions,” the authors write. “Exploring contributory factors of preventable ADEs is now necessary to inform preventive policies.”

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