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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Influenza-Associated Encephalopathy and Acute Necrotizing Encephalopathy in Children: A Retrospective Single-Center Study

Yongling Song, Suyun Li, Weiqiang Xiao, Jun Shen, Wencheng Ma, Qiang Wang, Haomei Yang, Guangming Liu, Yan Hong, Peiqing Li, Sida Yang

(Pediatric Emergency Department, Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e928374

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.928374


BACKGROUND: Although influenza primarily affects the respiratory system, it can cause severe neurological complications, especially in younger children, but knowledge about the early indicators of acute necrotizing encephalopathy (ANE) is limited. The main purpose of this article is to summarize the clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and treatment of neurological complications of influenza in children, and to identify factors associated with ANE.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study of children with confirmed influenza with neurological complications treated between 01/2014 and 12/2019 at Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center. A receiver operating characteristics curve analysis was performed to determine the prognostic value of selected variables.
RESULTS: Sixty-three children with IAE (n=33) and ANE (n=30) were included. Compared with the IAE group, the ANE group showed higher proportions of fever and acute disturbance of consciousness, higher alanine aminotransferase, higher aspartate aminotransferase, higher creatinine kinase, higher procalcitonin, higher cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein, and lower CSF white blood cells (all P<0.05). The areas under the curve (AUCs) for procalcitonin and CSF proteins, used to differentiate IAE and ANE, were 0.790 and 0.736, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of PCT >4.25 ng/ml to predict ANE were 73.3% and 100.0%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of CSF protein >0.48 g/L to predict ANE were 76.7% and 69.7%, respectively. Thirteen (43.3%) children with ANE and none with IAE died (P<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: High levels of CSF protein and serum procalcitonin might be used as early indicators for ANE. All children admitted with neurological findings, especially during the influenza season, should be evaluated for influenza-related neurological complications.

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