(From the February 2013 Issue of MedStat)
Investigators from 15 children’s medical centers, including Nationwide Children’s, observed and evaluated critically ill children with influenza to evaluate the relationships between levels of systemic inflammation, immune function and likelihood to die from the illness. The study appears in the January issue of Critical Care Medicine. The study demonstrates a strong relationship between mortality and reduced innate immune responsiveness in critically ill patients. It also demonstrates the feasibility of large-scale immune monitoring of the kind necessary to develop and test therapies for these critically ill children. The identification of potential treatment thresholds is important because strong evidence suggests that innate immune suppression associated with critical illness may be reversible. Advocating for additional studies, investigators suggest that patient-specific immune monitoring could aid in determining the most effective treatment for these critically ill patients. Therapies that stimulate the immune system may have a significant role in the treatment of high-risk children with severe immune suppression associated with influenza infection.
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