BACKGROUND: It is unknown how the initial choice of respiratory support by pediatric ICU providers contributes to outcomes of nonintubated obese children with respiratory failure. We hypothe-sized that body mass index and the type of initial respiratory support applied are associated with poor clinical outcomes in patients who carry respiratory failure-associated diagnoses. METHODS: This is a retrospective analysis of de-identified patient data obtained from the Virtual PICU System database (2009–2018). We included subjects 2–18 y old who received bi-level positive airway pres-sure/CPAP or high-flow nasal cannula as the initial respiratory support and were assigned respiratory failure-associated diagnoses (ie, acute hypoxic respiratory failure). The study population was divided into 2 body mass index percentile groups, underweight/healthy weight (< 85th percentile) and overweight/obese (6 85th percentile), and subjects were evaluated for the following outcomes: endotracheal intubation requirement, medical and physical PICU length of stay, and mortality scores. RESULTS: A total of 1,721 subjects were included: 1,091 (63.4%) underweight/healthy weight and 630 (36.6%) overweight/obese. Body mass index percentile was not associated with the initial respiratory support utilized (odds ratio 0.961 [95% CI 0.79–1.17], P 5 .73). Multivariable logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the odds of requiring endotracheal intubation (odds ratio 1.60 [95% CI 1.10–2.35], P 5 .02) were significantly higher in overweight/obese subjects initially placed on high-flow nasal cannula. Body mass index and bi-level positive airway pressure/CPAP therapy were both positively associated with medical and physical PICU length of stay, Pediatric Risk of Mortality Score 3 (PRISM3) scores, and Pediatric Index of Mortality 2 (PIM2) scores when separate multi-variable models were fit for these 4 response variables. CONCLUSIONS: The selection of respiratory support may place overweight/obese pediatric patients at higher risk for endotracheal intubation. Due to methodological limitations, we were unable to draw conclusions about the initial approach to the respiratory management of overweight/obese pediatric patients. Further investigation may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1425-1432
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory care
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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