HealthDay News — Nationally, the rate of hospitalization and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission for opioid ingestions increased from 2004 to 2015, according to a study published online March 5 in Pediatrics.

Jason M. Kane, MD, from the University of Chicago, and colleagues assessed trends in the rate of PICU admission for opioid-related ingestion over time using billing data from the Pediatric Health Information System (2004 to 2015). 

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The researchers found that there were 3,647 opioid-related hospitalizations in 31 hospitals, of which 42.9% required PICU care. Overall mortality was 1.6%, with annual deaths decreasing from 2.8 to 1.3% over the study period (P<0.001). However, the rate of PICU admission for opioid-related hospitalization increased significantly over the study period, from 24.9 to 35.9 per 10,000 PICU admissions (P<0.001). For opioid-related PICU admissions, 37.0% required mechanical ventilator support and 20.3% required vasopressors.

“Current efforts to reduce adult opioid use have not curtailed the incidence of pediatric opioid ingestions, and additional efforts are needed to reduce preventable opioid exposure in children,” the authors write.

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