Role of early fluid resuscitation in pediatric septic shock

JAMA. 1991 Sep 4;266(9):1242-5.


Objective: To examine the association of the volume of fluid administered at 1 and 6 hours after presentation, with survival and the occurrence of the adult respiratory distress syndrome, cardiogenic pulmonary edema, and persistent hypovolemia during the resuscitation of children with septic shock.

Setting and patients: All pediatric patients with septic shock presenting to the emergency department over a 6-year period and having a pulmonary artery catheter inserted by 6 hours after presentation were identified.

Methods: Patients were analyzed together and in three groups based on fluid volume in the first hour: group 1, less than 20 mL/kg; group 2, 20 to 40 mL/kg; and group 3, more than 40 mL/kg. Adult respiratory distress syndrome was diagnosed by the presence of alveolar infiltrates, hypoxemia, and a pulmonary capillary wedge pressure of 15 mm Hg or less. Cardiogenic pulmonary edema was diagnosed similarly, except the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure was greater than 15 mm Hg. Hypovolemia was diagnosed by the presence of oliguria, hypotension, and a pulmonary capillary wedge pressure of 8 mm Hg or less 6 hours after presentation.

Results: We identified 34 patients (median age, 13.5 months). At 1 and 6 hours, respectively, group 1 (n = 14) received 11 +/- 6 and 71 +/- 29 mL/kg (mean +/- SD) of fluid; group 2 received 32 +/- 5 and 108 +/- 54 mL/kg of fluid; and group 3 received 69 +/- 19 and 117 +/- 29 mL/kg of fluid. Survival in group 3 (eight of nine patients) was significantly better than in group 1 (six of 14 patients) or group 2 (four of 11 patients). Adult respiratory distress syndrome developed in 11 patients (32%) and cardiogenic pulmonary edema developed in five patients (15%). Having adult respiratory distress syndrome was associated with increased mortality, but adult respiratory distress syndrome was not increased in any group. Similarly, cardiogenic pulmonary edema was not associated with the fluid volume received or with decreased survival. Hypovolemia occurred in six patients in group 1 and two patients in group 2; all eight subsequently died.

Conclusion: Rapid fluid resuscitation in excess of 40 mL/kg in the first hour following emergency department presentation was associated with improved survival, decreased occurrence of persistent hypovolemia, and no increase in the risk of cardiogenic pulmonary edema or adult respiratory distress syndrome in this group of pediatric patients with septic shock.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / etiology
  • Resuscitation*
  • Shock, Septic / complications
  • Shock, Septic / mortality
  • Shock, Septic / therapy*