JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
REVIEW
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Pediatric sepsis.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Sepsis is the leading cause of pediatric death worldwide. In the United States alone, there are 72 000 children hospitalized for sepsis annually with a reported mortality rate of 25% and an economic cost estimated to be $4.8 billion. However, it is only recently that the definition and management of pediatric sepsis has been recognized as being distinct from adult sepsis.

RECENT FINDINGS: The definition of pediatric sepsis is currently in a state of evolution, and there is a large disconnect between the clinical and research definitions of sepsis which impacts the application of research findings into clinical practice. Despite this, it is the speed of diagnosis and the timely implementation of current treatment guidelines that has been shown to improve outcomes. However, adherence to treatment guidelines is currently low and it is only through the implementation of protocols that improved care and outcomes have been demonstrated.

SUMMARY: The current management of pediatric sepsis is largely based on adaptations from adult sepsis treatment; however, distinct physiology demands more prospective pediatric trials to tailor management to the pediatric population. Adherence to current and emerging practice guidelines will require that protocolized care pathways become a commonplace.

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