Severe Sepsis in Pediatric Liver Transplant Patients: The Emergence of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms

Alicia M Alcamo, Lauren J Alessi, S Noona Vehovic, Neha Bansal, Geoffrey J Bond, Joseph A Carcillo, Michael Green, Marian G Michaels, Rajesh K Aneja
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2019, 20 (7): e326-e332

OBJECTIVES: To describe characteristics of liver transplant patients with severe sepsis in the PICU.

DESIGN: Retrospective descriptive analysis.

SETTING: Tertiary children's hospital PICU.

PATIENTS: Liver transplant recipients admitted January 2010 to July 2016 for pediatric severe sepsis.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Between January 2010 and July 2016, 173 liver transplants were performed, and 36 of these patients (21%) were admitted with severe sepsis (54 episodes total). Median age at admission was 2 years (1-6.5 yr), 47.2% were male. Bacterial infections were the most common (77.8%), followed by culture negative (12.9%) and viral infections (7.4%). Fungal infections accounted for only 1.9%. Median time from transplant for viral and culture negative infections was 18 days (8.25-39.75 d) and 25 days (9-41 d), whereas 54.5 days (17-131.25 d) for bacterial infections. Bloodstream and intra-abdominal were the most common bacterial sites (45% and 22.5%, respectively). Multidrug-resistant organisms accounted for 47.6% of bacterial sepsis. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producers were the most frequently identified multidrug-resistant organisms. Patients with multidrug-resistant organism sepsis demonstrated higher admission Pediatric Logistic Organ Dysfunction scores (p = 0.043) and were noted to have an odds ratio of 3.8 and 3.6 for mechanical ventilation and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, respectively (p = 0.047 and p = 0.044). Overall mortality was 5.5% (n = 2 patients), with both deaths occurring in multidrug-resistant organism episodes.

CONCLUSIONS: We report that multidrug-resistant organisms are increasingly being identified as causative pathogens for sepsis in pediatric liver transplant recipients and are associated with significantly higher odds for mechanical ventilation and higher organ failure. The emergence of multidrug-resistant organism infections in pediatric liver transplant patients has implications for patient outcomes, antibiotic stewardship, and infection prevention strategies.

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