Presumed Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome in the Pediatric Emergency Department.
Pediatric Emergency Care
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The aim of this study was to examine the incidence and outcomes of patients presenting with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) in the pediatric emergency department (PED).
This was a descriptive, retrospective cohort study of all patients from birth to 18 years presenting to the PED of a single center on 16 days distributed over 1 year. The presence of presumed SIRS (pSIRS, defined as noncore temperature measurement and cell count when clinically indicated) and sepsis was determined for all study patients. Patients were followed up for 1 week.
The incidence of pSIRS was 15.3% (216/1416). Suspected or proven infection was present in 37.1% (n = 525) of the study population and 76.4% (n = 165) with pSIRS, with no cases of severe sepsis or septic shock. Sensitivity and specificity of pSIRS for predicting infection were 31.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 27.5%-35.6%) and 94.3% (95% CI, 92.5%-95.7%), respectively. Although patients with pSIRS had a relative risk of 2.4 (95% CI, 1.6-3.5; P < 0.0001) for admission, 74% were discharged home with no subsequent PED visits. Of defined sepsis cases, 75% were discharged home without return.
Presumed SIRS and sepsis are relatively common in the PED. Use of pSIRS to screen for sepsis risks missing infection, whereas using pSIRS in the current sepsis definition results in overinclusion of nonsevere illness.