Non-traumatic coma in paediatric patients: etiology and predictors of outcome
Objective: To determine the common etiological features of non-traumatic coma in children and evaluate possible predictors of morbidity and mortality in these patients.
Method: A cross sectional study was carried out at the Paediatric Department of Civil Hospital Karachi from February 2008 to February 2009. In total 100 children, up to 14 years of age having history of non-traumatic coma were included. At the time of enrolment demographic data, clinical features, laboratory parameters and radiological workup were recorded. Data was entered and analyzed with SPSS version 16. Descriptive statistics were generated for all variables. Relationships between categorical variables were evaluated by examining cross-tabulations, X2 test and Fisher\'s exact tests. P-values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Results: Mean age of the patients in months were 45 months. Male female ratio was 1.45:1. Among 65 survivors 38 (58%) showed no disability and 27 (41%) showed disability. Infections emerged as major cause of mortality (n=23, 79%). Clinical features that showed association with mortality included hypothermia (P=0.032), hypotension (P=0.002), altered breathing pattern (P=0.0001), non reactive pupils (P=0.001), low Glasgow coma scale (GCS) (P= 0.038), hypotonia (P=0.002), hyporeflexia (P =0.0001) and muscle power score of two (P=0.043).
Conclusion: Infections were the leading cause of non-traumatic coma as well as the leading cause of mortality in our study. Hypothermia, hypotension, altered breathing pattern, non reactive pupils, low GCS, hypotonia, hyporeflexia and low muscle power score were significantly associated with mortality in children presenting with non-traumatic coma.