Objective: Limited evidence exists on the use of corticosteroids in pediatric shock. We sought to determine physicians’ practices and beliefs with regard to the management of pediatric shock.
Design: Cross-sectional, Internet-based survey.
Subjects: Physicians identified as practicing pediatric intensive care in any of 15 academic centers.
Measurements and Main Results: Seventy of 97 physicians (72.2%) responded. Physicians stated that they were more likely to prescribe steroids for septic shock than for shock following cardiac surgery (odds ratio, 1.9 [95% CI, 0.9–4.3]) or trauma (odds ratio, 11.46 [95% CI, 2.5–51.2]), and 91.4% (64/70) would administer steroids to patients who had received 60 cc/kg of fluid and two or more vasoactive medications. Thirty-five percent of respondents (25/70) reported that they rarely or never conducted adrenal axis testing before giving steroids to patients in shock. Eighty-seven percent of respondents (61/70) stated that the role of steroids in the treatment of fluid and/or vasoactive drug-dependent shock needed to be clarified and that 84.3% would be willing to randomize patients into a trial of steroid efficacy who were fluid resuscitated and on one high-dose vasoactive medication. However, 74.3% stated that they would start open-label steroids in patients who required two high-dose vasoactive medications.
Conclusions: This survey provides information on the stated beliefs and practices of pediatric critical care physicians with regard to the use of steroids in fluid and/or vasoactive drug-dependent shock. Clinicians feel that the role of steroids in shock still requires clarification and that they would be willing to randomize patients into a trial. This survey may be useful as an initial framework for the development of a future trial on the use of steroids in pediatric shock.