Resource Use and Outcomes for Children Hospitalized With Severe Sepsis or Septic Shock

J Intensive Care Med. 2021 Jan;36(1):89-100. doi: 10.1177/0885066619885894. Epub 2019 Nov 10.


Objective: To describe patient and hospital characteristics associated with in-hospital mortality, length of stay (LOS), and charges for children with severe sepsis or septic shock who often require specialized organ-supportive technology to enhance outcomes, availability of which might vary across hospitals.

Design: Retrospective study among children hospitalized for severe sepsis or septic shock, using the 2012 Kids' Inpatient Database. Multivariate regression methods identified factors associated with mortality, LOS, and charges.

Measurements and main results: Of an estimated 11 972 hospitalizations for pediatric severe sepsis or septic shock, most hospitalizations (85%) were to urban teaching hospitals. Hospitalizations were more frequent among neonates and older adolescents than other age groups. Mortality was 17%, average LOS was 24 days, and average hospital charges were US$314 950. Higher mortality was associated with neonates, cumulative organ dysfunction, more comorbidities, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Longer hospitalization and higher charges were associated with neonates, more comorbidities, higher illness severity, invasive medical technology, and urban hospitals.

Conclusions: Efforts to mitigate the substantial in-hospital mortality and resource use observed in pediatric severe sepsis or septic shock should be age-specific and focused on the influence of comorbidities and organ dysfunction on outcomes. Future research should elucidate reasons for higher resource use at urban hospitals.

Keywords: hospital charges; hospitalized children; length of stay; mortality; sepsis; teaching hospitals.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Hospital Charges
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis* / economics
  • Sepsis* / mortality
  • Shock, Septic* / economics
  • Shock, Septic* / mortality