Please cite this paper as: Damak et al.(2011) Clinical features, complications and mortality in critically ill patients with 2009 influenza A(H1N1) in Sfax,Tunisia. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 5(4), 230–240
Purpose Africa, as the rest of the world, was touched by the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1). In the literature, a few publications covering this subject emerged from this continent. We prospectively describe baseline characteristics, treatment and outcomes of consecutive critically ill patients with confirmed 2009 influenza A(H1N1) in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Sfax hospital.
Methods From 29 November 2009 through 21 January 2010, 32 patients with confirmed 2009 influenza A(H1N1) were admitted to our ICU. We prospectively analysed data and outcomes of these patients and compared survivors and dead patients to identify any predictors of death.
Results Patients were young (mean, 36·1 [SD], 20·7 years) and 21 (65·6%) of whom had co‐morbidities. During ICU care, 29 (90·6%) patients had respiratory failure; among these, 15 (46·9%) patients required invasive ventilation with a median duration of 9 (IQR 3–12) days. In our experience, respiratory dysfunction can remain isolated but may also be associated with other dysfunctions or complications, such as, septic shock, seizures, myasthenia gravis exacerbation, Guillan–Barre syndrome, acute renal failure, nosocomial infections and biological disturbances. The nine patients (28·1%) who died had greater initial severity of illness (SAPS II and sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores) but also a higher SOFA score and increasing severity of organ dysfunction during their ICU evolution.
Conclusion Critical illness from the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) in Sfax occurred in young individuals and was associated with severe acute respiratory and additional organ system failure. SAPS II and SOFA scores at ICU admission, and also during evolution, constitute a good predictor of death.