Scientific Papers

Age, comorbidity burden and late presentation are significant predictors of hospitalization length and acute respiratory failure in patients with influenza


Influenza viruses are responsible for a high number of infections and hospitalizations every year. In this study, we aimed to identify clinical and host-specific factors that influence the duration of hospitalization and the progression to acute respiratory failure (ARF) in influenza. We performed an analysis of data from a prospective active influenza surveillance study that was conducted over five seasons (2018/19 to 2022/23). A total of 1402 patients with influenza were included in the analysis, the majority of which (64.5%) were children (under 18 years), and 9.1% were elderly. At least one chronic condition was present in 29.2% of patients, and 9.9% of patients developed ARF. The median hospital stay was 4 days (IQR: 3, 6 days). The most important predictors of prolonged hospital stay and development of ARF were extremes of age (infants and elderly), presence of chronic diseases, particularly the cumulus of at least 3 chronic diseases, and late presentation to hospital. Among the chronic diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and chronic kidney disease were strongly associated with a longer duration of hospitalization and occurrence of ARF. In this context, interventions aimed at chronic disease management, promoting influenza vaccination, and improving awareness and access to health services may contribute to reducing the impact of influenza not only in Romania but globally. In addition, continued monitoring of the circulation of influenza viruses is essential to limit their spread among vulnerable populations.