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Dermatomyositis and Polymyositis in the Intensive Care Unit: A Single-Center Retrospective Cohort Study of 102 Patients.

INTRODUCTION: Patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) are sometimes complicated with life-threatening conditions requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission. In the past, owing to the low incidence of IIM, little was known about such patients. Our aim was to investigate the clinical features and outcomes of these patients and identify their risk factors for mortality.

METHODS: A retrospective study was performed of IIM patients admitted over an 8-year period to the medical ICU of a tertiary referral center in China. We collected data regarding demographic features, IIM-related clinical characteristics, reasons for admission, organ dysfunction, and outcomes. Independent predictors of ICU mortality were identified through multivariate logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: Of the 102 patients in our cohort, polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM), and clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis (CADM) accounted for 23.5%, 64.7%, and 11.7% respectively. The median duration from the onset of IIM to ICU admission was 4.3 months (interquartile range [IQR], 2.6-9.4 months). Reasons for ICU admission were infection alone (39.2%), acute exacerbation of IIM alone (27.5%), the coexistence of both (27.5%), or other reasons (5.8%). Pneumonia accounted for 97% of the infections; 63.2% of infections with documented pathogens were caused by opportunistic agents. Rapid progressive interstitial lung disease (RP-ILD) was responsible for 87.5% of acute exacerbation of IIM. The median Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score on ICU day 1 was 17 (IQR 14-20). On ICU admission, acute respiratory failure (ARF) was the most common type (80.4%) of organ failure. The mortality rate in the ICU was 79.4%. Factors associated with increased ICU mortality included a diagnosis of DM (including CADM), a high APACHE II score, the presence of ARF, a decreased PaO2/FiO2 ratio, and a low lymphocyte count at the time of ICU admission.

CONCLUSIONS: The outcome of IIM patients admitted to the ICU was extremely poor. A diagnosis of DM/CADM, the presence and severity of ARF, and the lymphocyte counts at ICU admission were shown to be valuable for predicting outcome. Opportunistic infections and rapidly progressive interstitial lung disease warrant concern in treating these patients.

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