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Anales de Medicina Interna

Print version ISSN 0212-7199


RODRIGUEZ BORREGAN, J. C. et al. Varicella pneumonia in adults: 30 cases. An. Med. Interna (Madrid) [online]. 2003, vol.20, n.12, pp.14-20. ISSN 0212-7199.

Objectives: During the past 10 years, 30 adults (age 15 years) were treated for varicella pneumonia in our centre. Methods: There were 16 males and 14 females. Ages ranged from 15 to 58 years (mean, 32.73±7.67 years). Twenty-seven patients (90%) were non-pregnant adult smokers and three patients (10%) were pregnant women. The hospital stay ranged from 4 to 57 days (mean, 14.96±12.02 days). Results: Seven patients (23.3%) were managed in the intensive care unit and two patients (6,6%) required mechanical ventilation. The most common radiographic findings were interstitial infiltrates in twenty-one patients (70%) and interstitial-alveolar infiltrates in seven patients (23.3%). Physical examination of the chest did not reveal abnormalities in twenty patients (66,6%). Fifteen patients (50%) were severely hipoxic with pO2/FiO2 ratio less than 300. Twelve patients (40%) presented thrombocytopenia and fifteen (50%) presented hyponatremia. The most frequent clinical features included: fever (100%), dry cough (86.6%), dysnea (66.6%) and chest pain (50%). One patient (3.3%) died. Three patients (10%) developed asthma and one other patient developed pulmonary fibrosis. Conclusions: Smoking is associated with an increase incidence of varicella pneumonia in adults. A chest x-ray should be practised in all cases of varicella in adults and they all should also be admitted to hospital. Intravenous aciclovir is recommended for treatment of varicella pneumonia in adults and in seriously ill patients the association of corticosteroids should be considered.

Keywords : Varicella pneumonia; Adult; Acyclovir; Chickenpox.

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