Updated American College of Critical Care Medicine--pediatric advanced life support guidelines for management of pediatric and neonatal septic shock: relevance to the emergency care clinician

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2010 Nov;26(11):867-9. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181fb0dc0.


Shock is a major preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in children referred to emergency care. The recently updated American College of Critical Care Medicine guidelines for the management of newborns and children with septic shock emphasize the role of emergency care in improving survival and functional outcomes. Implementation of these guidelines of stepwise use of fluids, antibiotics, and, if necessary, inotropes within the first hour of admission to the emergency department can reduce mortality and neurological morbidity risks 2-fold. Therapies should be goal directed to maintain age-specific threshold heart rates and blood pressure as well as a capillary refill of less than 3 seconds or 2 seconds or less. Inotropes should be delivered through peripheral intravenous or intraosseous access when central access is unavailable because delay in inotrope delivery can greatly increase mortality risks. Emergency care systems should be organized to facilitate recognition, triage, and treatment of shock in the first hour. Emergency departments should be stocked with ready access to antibiotics, fluids, and inotrope infusions, and clinicians should be trained in the delivery of goal-directed fluid, antibiotics, and inotrope therapies in the first hour of resuscitation. For newborns, in addition to fluids, antibiotics, and inotropes, a prostaglandin infusion should be available within 10 minutes if duct-dependent congenital heart disease is a possibility.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Treatment / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Life Support Care / standards*
  • Pediatrics / standards*
  • Shock, Septic / mortality
  • Shock, Septic / therapy*