Patients having systemic rheumatic diseases constitute a small percentage of admissions to the medical intensive care units (ICUs). Dermatomyositis (DM) is one of the rheumatic diseases that have secondary complications that may lead to a critical illness requiring hospitalization in the ICU. Herein, we present the features, clinical course, and outcome of critically ill patients having DM who were admitted to the ICU. The medical records of six DM patients admitted to the ICU in a large tertiary hospital in a 12-year period were reviewed. The mean age of patients at time of admission to the ICU was 38 (range 16-37). Mean disease duration from diagnosis to admission to the ICU was 1.6 years (range 1 month-8 years), while the main reason for admission to the ICU was acute respiratory failure. Two of six patients died during the hospitalization. The main causes of death were respiratory complications and sepsis. The outcome of DM patients admitted to the ICU was generally not different from the outcome of other patients hospitalized in the ICU. The main reason for hospitalization was acute respiratory failure. As there are many reasons for respiratory failure in DM, an early diagnosis and aggressive appropriate treatment may help to further reduce the mortality in these patients.
- Intensive care unit
- Mechanical ventilation