Context: Varicella pneumonia is a rare but a serious complication of chickenpox in adults. There is paucity of data on varicella pneumonia from India.
Aims: The aim of this study is to describe the clinical manifestations, hospital course, treatment, and outcome of adult patients with severe varicella pneumonia.
Settings and Design: This was a retrospective, observational study of patients with severe varicella pneumonia attending a tertiary care teaching hospital.
Subjects and Methods: The cases of varicella were identified by a computerized search of the medical record for the period between January 2010 and December 2016. During this period, 137 patients got admitted with varicella of which 22 had severe varicella pneumonia. Statistical Analysis: Mean and standard deviation were computed. Fisher's Z-test of proportions and analysis of variance were applied.
Results: There were 17 (77.3%) men and 5 (22.7%) women. The mean age of the patients was 33.4 ± 10.8 years. History of contact with an infected person followed by high-grade fever and typical rash was present in all patients. Forty-five percent (10/22) of patients were immunosuppressed. All the patients received intravenous acyclovir. Forty-five percent (10/22) of patients received invasive mechanical ventilation. The various factors associated with the need for mechanical ventilation were partial pressure of oxygen:fraction of inspired oxygen ratio <150, quick sequential (sepsis-related) organ failure assessment (qSOFA) >2, and early bacterial coinfection. The mean Intensive Care Unit and hospital stay were 7 days (range; 1–16) and 9 days (range; 4–21), respectively. The overall mortality was 22.7% and reached 50% in those requiring invasive ventilation. The mortality was higher among patients with qSOFA >3, mean arterial blood pressure <60 mmHg, and severe acute respiratory distress syndrome at presentation.
Conclusions: Patients with severe varicella pneumonia are at an increased risk of respiratory failure and death.
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