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Clinical characteristics of recurrent pneumonia in children with or without underlying diseases.

BACKGROUND: Recurrent pneumonia is uncommon in children and few studies investigate the clinical impact of underlying diseases on this issue. This study aimed to explore the difference in clinical manifestations, pathogens, and prognosis of recurrent pneumonia in children with or without underlying diseases.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study of pediatric recurrent pneumonia from 2007 to 2019 in National Taiwan University Hospital. Patients under the age of 18 who had two or more episodes of pneumonia in a year were included, and the minimum interval of two pneumonia episodes was more than one month. Aspiration pneumonia was excluded. Demographic and clinical characteristics of patients were collected and compared.

RESULTS: Among 8508 children with pneumonia, 802 (9.4%) of them had recurrent pneumonia. Among these 802 patients, 655 (81.7%) had underlying diseases including neurological disorders (N = 252, 38.5%), allergy (N = 211, 32.2%), and cardiovascular diseases (N = 193, 29.5%). Children without underlying diseases had more viral bronchopneumonia (p < 0.001). Children with underlying diseases were more likely to acquire Staphylococcus aureus (p = 0.001), and gram-negative bacteriae, more pneumonia episodes (3 vs 2, p < 0.001), a longer hospital stay (median: 7 vs. 4 days, p < 0.001), a higher ICU rate (28.8% vs 3.59%, p < 0.001), and a higher case-fatality rate (5.19% vs 0%, p < 0.001) than those without underlying diseases.

CONCLUSION: Children with underlying diseases, prone to have recurrent pneumonia and more susceptible to resistant microorganisms, had more severe diseases and poorer clinical outcomes. Therefore, more attention may be paid on clinical severity and the therapeutic plan.

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