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An experience with surgical admissions to a Paediatric ICU (PICU) in Harare Zimbabwe

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The PICU in Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare is a 5-bedded unit catering for both surgical and medical patients. A retrospective review was undertaken to evaluate the surgical ICU experience in the Unit. The study period was from January 1997 to December 1998.


During this period there were 147 surgical admissions to the unit constituting just under half of the total admissions. The ages ranged from 1 day to 14 years with a median age of 36 months. Seventy-six (52%) of the patients were male. The mean stay in the PICU was 3.9 days with a range of 28 days. Cardiac patients made up 45% of the patients followed by respiratory tract surgery (15%). The overall ICU mortality was 17%. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the patients were hypothermic on arrival to PICU. Factors associated with a high mortality were abnormal temperature on arrival in the PICU, young age and being ventilated. Three patients had accidental extubation on arrival to PICU.


There is a rather high incidence of hypothermia in surgical patients admitted to the PICU in Harare and this has adverse effect on mortality. Closer attention to temperature control during surgery and transport to PICU could reduce mortality. Further studies are needed in this regard.

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Pazvakavambwa, IE. An experience with surgical admissions to a Paediatric ICU (PICU) in Harare Zimbabwe. Crit Care 4 (Suppl 1), P218 (2000).

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