What is a Pediatric ICU?
A Paediatric ICU or Paediatric intensive care unit is a hospital department which is especially made to provide intensive care to children who are critically ill. Although children, in this regard, are categorized as being within 0 to 18 years of age, the maximum age limit for Paediatric ICU patients is determined as per the respective hospital’s protocol.
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
Critically ill infants, who are usually one month of age and older, receive medical care in Paediatric ICU. On the other hand, Neonatal ICU (NICU) is for babies who are less than one month-old. In the Paediatric ICU, the presence or use of various types of equipment along with trained doctors and nurses play a significant role in providing timely and accurate treatment.
Various critical illnesses of children, such as severe pneumonia, asthma-related breathing problems, heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities, risk of heart failure, complications from kidney failure, age-related changes in blood pressure, brain infections (meningitis, encephalitis), prolonged seizures, and complications from diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis) increase the risk of death.
In these conditions, breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, body salt, water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide all lose their equilibrium. In such cases, timely and need-based treatment is required, which is not possible without close monitoring. Artificial respiration or life support is sometimes required, which can only be seen in the ICU. Moreover, there are some life-saving drugs, which require intensive care units for implementation.
In the last few years, there has been an increase in the severity of dengue (dengue shock syndrome) and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MISC), which is a post-pandemic COVID infection complication. In this case, heart vein swelling and heart failure can occur. The treatment of these children requires close monitoring and care, which is possible only in the ICU.
Paediatric intensive care units/Paediatric ICUs are of immense importance in instances when the patient needs proper post-treatment monitoring and medical care after bone marrow transplants in Paediatric cancer treatments, kidney transplant in patients with long-term renal failure, and post-complex surgery.
Moreover, in order to reach the milestone of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the year 2030, it is very important to establish child emergency and child intensive care centers, which will be especially helpful in reducing child mortality. The number of Paediatric ICU/Child Intensive Care Centers in Bangladesh is insufficient in both public and private sectors.
Besides, there are also very few experienced doctors and nurses in this department. Evercare Hospital is one of the private hospitals in the country that have doctors, nurses, advanced medical equipment and modern medical systems in their Paediatric ICUs. Paediatric ICUs are crucial in providing comprehensive care and emergency treatments by experienced physicians and skilled health workers who can save the lives of children.
Dr. Nurun Nahar