<h4>Background</h4>Risk factors that predispose the development of severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) among pediatric CAP patients of different age ranges are yet to be identified.<h4>Methods</h4>We retrospectively analyzed pediatric in-patients (< 6 years old) diagnosed with CAP in our hospital. We subdivided patients into four age groups (< 6 months, 6 months-1 year, 1-2 years, and 2-6 years). Their medical records, including demographic information, clinical features, laboratory findings, and chest radiographic reports, were reviewed and collected for further analysis. Univariate logistic regression analysis and stepwise regression analysis were applied to identify risk factors associated with severe CAP and ICU admission for overall patients and age-stratified subgroups.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 20,174 cases were initially included. Among them, 3309 (16.40%) cases were identified as severe CAP, and 2824 (14.00%) cases required ICU admission. Potential risk factors for severe CAP and ICU admission identified by univariate analysis included younger age, rural residency, premature birth, low birth weight (LBW), formula feeding, congenital heart disease (CHD), history of pneumonia or neonatal jaundice, patients with other health issues, certain symptoms (manifesting wheezing, dyspnea, cyanosis, but have no cough or fever), abnormal laboratory findings (abnormal levels of white blood cells, albumin, and C-reactive protein and RSV infection), and chest X-ray (odds ratio [OR] > 1 for all). CHD, low albumin, proteinuria, abnormal chest x-ray were independent risks factors across different age groups, whereas birth or feeding history, history of pneumonia, cyanosis or dyspnea on admission, and RSV infection were independent risk factors for only younger kids (< 1 year), and wheezing was an independent risk factor only for older children (2-5 years old).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Risk factors predicting disease severity among children hospitalized with CAP vary with age. Risk factor stratification of pediatric CAP based on age-specific risk factors can better guide clinical practice.<h4>Trial registration</h4>This study has been registered in China, with the registration number being ChiCTR2000033019 .
Ital J Pediatr (Italian journal of pediatrics)
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