Safar Center Associate Director Dr. Ericka Fink led an international multi-center group of investigators to carry out the first point-prevalence study of neurological diseases in infants and children—the Prevalence of Acute critical Neurological disease in children: a Global Epidemiological Assessment (PANGEA) study.

The work cataloged acute neurologic conditions among critically ill children in 107 pediatric ICUs worldwide. Published in the April 2017 issue of the journal Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (PCCM), her work provided key data on 924 children. Remarkably, over 16% of children in the ICUs had an acute neurologic condition including both preexisting and new medical conditions. Over 60% had normal neurologic status before their hospitalization. Cardiac arrest (23%), traumatic brain injury (19%), central nervous system infection/ inflammation (16%), stroke (9%) or brain tumor (9%) were the most common diagnoses. Important regional differences were seen across the globe. Infection/inflammation was the most common cause in Asia, South America, and Africa, while when considering all regions, cardiac arrest was the main cause.

The results of this groundbreaking report from PANGEA suggest a vital need for resources to improve outcomes for these critically ill children with acute neurological diseases.