Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Clinical spectrum of shock in the pediatric emergency department.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to describe the clinical spectrum of patients presenting with shock or developing shock in a pediatric emergency department (ED) during an 8-year period.

METHODS: An observational study of all pediatric ED patients with shock between September 1998 and September 2006 was performed. Trauma activations were excluded. A structured, explicit chart review using a standardized abstraction form and case definition was completed by 3 physicians board certified in pediatric emergency medicine. Interrater reliability was monitored.

RESULTS: A total of 147 cases of shock were identified. Septic shock was the underlying physiology in 57% of cases. A pathogen was identified in 45% of these cases. Hypovolemic shock due to gastroenteritis, metabolic disease, surgical emergencies, or hemorrhage was the cause in 24% of cases. Distributive shock represented 14% of cases. Cardiogenic shock contributed to 5% of cases. Patients with septic shock received a mean of 58 mL/kg of crystalloid or colloid versus 50 mL/kg in patients with other causes. Intubation and vasopressor use was required in 41% and 21% of cases, respectively. Clinical signs of shock developed in the ED after initially presenting without clinical signs of shock in 14% of study subjects. Nearly half of these episodes occurred after the administration of antimicrobials or performance of a lumbar puncture. Mortality was 6% overall and 5% in septic shock patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric ED patients with shock represent a diverse population with substantial mortality. Of 147 patients, 21 presented without clinical signs of shock and deteriorated to a clinical condition meeting the definition of shock during the ED course.

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