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Primary prevention in the intensive care unit: a prospective single-centre study of the risk factors for invasive pneumococcal disease

Intensive Care Unit, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia


Invasive pneumococcal disease is a significant health burden in Australia, with immunisation recommended for children and at-risk adults. Health benefits of immunisation are clear, but less effective when immunisation rates are low, as in Western Australia. We hypothesised that patients admitted unplanned to the intensive care unit (ICU) would have high eligibility for pneumococcal immunisation, but low rates of recorded vaccine administration. We performed a prospective observational study of 119 emergency admissions to Royal Perth ICU, a 20-bed mixed ICU at a tertiary teaching hospital in Western Australia. Each admission was screened for vaccine eligibility (age and risk factors as per Australian Technical Advisory Group of Immunisation guidelines), with patients’ health records examined and primary care providers contacted after ICU discharge. Risk factors for invasive pneumococcal disease were common, with 52% of the study population having one or more. Fifty-four of 119 admitted patients (45%) were assessed as eligible for immunisation after ICU discharge. ICU survivors represent a high-risk population for which intervention against modifiable targets, such as invasive pneumococcal disease, may reduce both their chronic health burden and future health expenditure. Future efforts should concentrate on assessing the feasibility of a screening program for modifiable factors in ICU survivors, and the logistics of delivering these interventions in a timely manner during their hospital stay.

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