Measles-induced respiratory distress, air-leak and ARDS.

Marco Piastra, Roberta Onesimo, Daniele De Luca, L. Lancella, Laura Marzano, Gabriella De Rosa, Domenico Pietrini, Piero Valentini, Giorgio Conti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Young infants with measles requiring respiratory support have a significant risk for death and long-term complications. Even in developed countries, the occurrence of spontaneous air-leaks and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) still represent the most severe clinical presentation in early childhood, with a high fatality rate. A clinical series review from a tertiary university paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) was undertaken. During the 2006-2007 outbreak in Rome, Italy, a young infant presented with ARDS/spontaneous air-leak and needed aggressive ventilatory management and haemodynamic support. Both nebulised iloprost and intravenous pentoxifylline were administered during the acute hypoxaemic phase; the role of this pharmacologic approach in critically ill patients is still under debate. We observed four further cases of respiratory impairment requiring a non-invasive approach. Clinical-radiological findings ranged from interstitial pneumonia to bronchiolitis-like pictures. All patients were imported cases, representing an important epidemiological factor and future medical issue, though they were not malnourished nor affected by chronic diseases. We conclude that early respiratory assessment and timely PICU referral is of mainstem importance in the youngest infants with measles-induced respiratory failure. The protean nature of clinical presentation and the possibility of rapid respiratory deterioration should be highlighted, and infants from immigrant families may represent a susceptible high-risk group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Measles


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