Clinical Review: Considerations for the Triage of Maternity Care During an Influenza Pandemic -- One Institution's Approach
Beigi, Richard H
Critical care (London, England) 2010; 14(3): 225
The ongoing pandemic of 2009 H1N1 swine-origin influenza A has heightened the world's attention to the reality of influenza pandemics and their unpredictable nature. Currently, the 2009 H1N1 influenza strain appears to cause mild clinical disease for the majority of those infected. However, the risk of severe disease from this strain or other future strains remains an ongoing concern and is noted in specific patient populations. Pregnant women represent a unique patient population that historically has been disproportionately affected by both seasonal and pandemic influenza outbreaks. Data thus far suggest that the current 2009 H1N1 outbreak is following this same epidemiologic tendency among pregnant women. The increased predilection to worse clinical outcomes among pregnant women has potential to produce an acute demand for critical care resources that may overwhelm supply in facilities providing maternity care. The ability of healthcare systems to optimize maternal-child health outcomes during an influenza pandemic or other biologic disaster may therefore depend on the equitable allocation of these limited resources. Triage algorithms for resource allocation have been delineated in the general medical population. However, no current guidance considers the unique aspects of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses. An approach is suggested that may help guide facilities faced with these challenges.
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