A Temperature- and Age-Adjusted Shock Index for Emergency Department Identification of Pediatric Sepsis

Ann Emerg Med. 2023 Oct;82(4):494-502. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2023.03.026. Epub 2023 May 12.


Objective: To empirically derive a novel temperature- and age-adjusted mean shock index (TAMSI) for early identification of sepsis and septic shock in children with suspected infection.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of children aged 1 month to <18 years presenting to a single emergency department with suspected infection over a 10-year period. TAMSI was defined as (pulse rate - 10 × [temperature - 37])/(mean arterial pressure). The primary outcome was sepsis, and the secondary outcome was septic shock. In the two-thirds training set, we determined TAMSI cutoffs for each age group using a minimum sensitivity of 85% and Youden Index. In the one-third validation data set, we calculated test characteristics for the TAMSI cutoffs and compared them with those for the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) tachycardia or systolic hypotension cutoffs.

Results: In the sepsis validation data set, the sensitivity-targeting TAMSI cutoff yielded a sensitivity of 83.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 81.7% to 85.4%) and specificity of 42.8% (95% CI 42.4% to 43.3%) versus a sensitivity of 77.7% (95% CI 75.7% to 79.8%) and specificity of 60.0% (95% CI 59.5% to 60.4%) for PALS. For septic shock, the sensitivity-targeting TAMSI cutoff achieved a sensitivity of 81.3% (95% CI 75.2% to 87.4%) and a specificity of 83.5% (95% CI 83.2% to 83.8%) versus a sensitivity of 91.0% (95% CI 86.5% to 95.5%) and a specificity of 58.8% (95% CI 58.4% to 59.3%) for PALS. TAMSI yielded an increased positive likelihood ratio and similar negative likelihood ratio versus PALS.

Conclusions: TAMSI achieved a similar negative likelihood ratio and improved positive likelihood ratio compared with PALS vital sign cutoffs for the prediction of septic shock, but it did not improve on PALS for sepsis prediction, among children with suspected infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis* / diagnosis
  • Shock, Septic* / diagnosis
  • Temperature