J Pediatr Intensive Care 2014; 03(04): 227-242
DOI: 10.3233/PIC-14105
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart – New York

Management of bacterial severe sepsis and septic shock

Kathleen Chiotos
a   Division of Critical Care, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
b   Division of Infectious Diseases, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Fran Balamuth
c   Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
d   Division of Emergency Medicine and Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Halden F. Scott
e   Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA
f   Section of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

15 July 2014

07 October 2014

Publication Date:
28 July 2015 (online)


Bacterial sepsis is a leading cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality worldwide. Early diagnosis, a coordinated and aggressive approach to initial resuscitation, and timely and appropriate antibiotic therapy are paramount to improving outcomes of these dangerous infections. The basic tenants of initial and ongoing resuscitation include rapid isotonic intravenous fluid boluses with reassessment for physiologic response, empiric broad-spectrum antibiotics directed to cover suspected sources of infection, source control, vasoactive infusions, supportive critical care and monitoring of response to therapy. In addition to resuscitation of bacterial sepsis, this article will review approaches to empiric antibiotic choice in septic shock, and detail definitive management of infections caused by several specific organisms, including Staphylococcus aureus, group A Streptococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Clostridium difficile. Lastly, management of several common pediatric infections, including community acquired bacterial pneumonia and bacterial meningitis, will be reviewed.