Impact of body mass index and initial respiratory support on pediatric subjects in acute respiratory failure

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.



Work Title Impact of body mass index and initial respiratory support on pediatric subjects in acute respiratory failure
Open Access
  1. Derika Schlueter
  2. Curtis Kovaleski
  3. Vonn Walter
  4. Neal J. Thomas
  5. Conrad Krawiec
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Respiratory Care
Publication Date January 1, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited November 23, 2021




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added RespCare_2021.pdf
  • Added Creator Derika Schlueter
  • Added Creator Curtis Kovaleski
  • Added Creator Vonn Walter
  • Added Creator Neal J. Thomas
  • Added Creator Conrad Krawiec
  • Published
  • Updated
  • Updated