Severe pneumonia caused by influenza A (H1N1) virus successfully managed with extracorporeal life support in a comorbid former preterm infant

Genny Raffaeli, Giacomo Cavallaro, Lorenza Pugni, Ernesto Leva, Andrea Artoni, Simona Neri, Chiara Baracetti, Mauro Cotza, Valerio Gentilino, Leonardo Terranova, Susanna Esposito, Fabio Mosca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is a global health burden, leading to significant pediatric morbidity and mortality. Prematurity, young age and comorbidities are important risk factors for unfavorable outcomes. Preventive strategies, such as healthcare workers and household contacts vaccination as well as the implementation of infection control practices during the epidemic season, are crucial to protect the most vulnerable populations. Early diagnosis, timely administration of antiviral drugs and supportive therapy are crucial to lead to a complete recovery. When conventional treatment fails, extracorporeal life support (ECLS) may be employed. In neonates and young infants, this high-tech support is burdened by specific technical complexity. Despite the potential risks related to this aggressive approach, ECLS is a life-saving procedure in 65% of pediatric viral pneumonia and in 73% of sepsis cases. Here, we report the successful outcome of a 51-day formerly preterm infant, suffering from a surgical necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), complicated with hospital-acquired pneumonia due to influenza A (H1N1) virus. She developed a severe respiratory failure, unresponsive to conventional therapy, and successfully treated with ECLS. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the use of ECLS in a formerly preterm infant, suffering from NEC complicated by influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number360
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Extracorporeal life support (ECLS)
  • Infection control measures
  • Influenza A (H1N1) virus
  • Neonatal intensive care unit
  • Neonate
  • Oseltamivir
  • Pneumonia
  • Preterm infant
  • Young infant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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