Understanding the global epidemiology of pediatric critical illness: The power, pitfalls, and practicalities of point prevalence studies

Scott L. Weiss, Julie C. Fitzgerald, Edward Vincent Faustino, Marino S. Festa, Ericka L. Fink, Philippe Jouvet, Jenny L. Bush, Niranjan Kissoon, John Marshall, Vinay M. Nadkarni, Neal J. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: The point prevalence methodology is a valuable epidemiological study design that can optimize patient enrollment, prospectively gather individual-level data, and measure practice variability across a large number of geographic regions and healthcare settings. The objective of this article is to review the design, implementation, and analysis of recent point prevalence studies investigating the global epidemiology of pediatric critical illness. Data Sources: Literature review and primary datasets. Study Selection: Multicenter, international point prevalence studies performed in PICUs since 2007. Data Extraction: Study topic, number of sites, number of study days, patients screened, prevalence of disease, use of specified therapies, and outcomes. Data Synthesis: Since 2007, five-point prevalence studies have been performed on acute lung injury, neurologic disease, thromboprophylaxis, fluid resuscitation, and sepsis in PICUs. These studies were performed in 59-120 sites in 7-28 countries. All studies accounted for seasonal variation in pediatric disease by collecting data over multiple study days. Studies screened up to 6,317 patients and reported data on prevalence and therapeutic variability. Three studies also reported short-term outcomes, a valuable but atypical data element in point prevalence studies. Using these five studies as examples, the advantages and disadvantages and approach to designing, implementing, and analyzing point prevalence studies are reviewed. Conclusions: Point prevalence studies in pediatric critical care can efficiently provide valuable insight on the global epidemiology of disease and practice patterns for critically ill children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-666
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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