European Respiratory Society


Home treatment for children with chronic respiratory failure (CRF) is increasing. However, the causes of CRF in children and the details of their home treatment are not well-known. The aim of this study was to describe the causes of CRF in the paediatric population and the treatments that the patients received at home. We surveyed all children (aged < or = 18 yrs) entering the Association Nationale pour le Traitement a Domicile de l'Insuffisance Respiratoire chronique (ANTADIR) for home treatment of CRF between March 1992 and March 1993. Two hundred and eighty seven children (178 boys, 62%) started home treatment for CRF during the year. One hundred and eleven patients had obstructive respiratory disease: cystic fibrosis (CF) (n = 24); bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) (n = 79); other obstructive respiratory disease (n = 8). One hundred and seventy six patients had restrictive lung disease: neuromuscular disease (n = 87); kyphoscoliosis (n = 21); pulmonary fibrosis (n = 6); cardiac disease (n = 14); stomatological disease (n = 10); other restrictive respiratory disease (n = 9); and 29 miscellaneous causes. One hundred and thirteen patients received oxygen therapy, with a mean daily use of 17.7 h (20 for BPD patients and 12.3 for CF patients). Oxygen was delivered by a concentrator in 88% of cases. One hundred and fifty eight children received mechanical ventilation (MV). Five children received nasal continuous positive airway pressure ventilation for sleep apnoea, four had pneumatic belt ventilation, and 12 had a tracheostomy without MV. Treatment was stopped in 21 children, because of death in nine and improvement in the other 12. Home treatment for children with CRF is well developed in France via the ANTADIR network. Causes of CRF in children are heterogeneous, with a relatively good prognosis.