Objectives: To investigate the association between PICU shock index (the ratio of heart rate to systolic blood pressure) and PICU mortality in children with sepsis/septic shock. To explore cutoff values for shock index for ICU mortality, how change in shock index over the first 6 hours of ICU admission is associated with outcome, and how the use of vasoactive therapy may affect shock index and its association with outcome.
Design: Retrospective cohort.
Setting: Single-center tertiary PICU.
Subjects: Five hundred forty-four children with the diagnosis of sepsis/septic shock.
Measurements and Main Results: From January 2003 to December 2009, 544 children met International Pediatric Sepsis Consensus Conference of 2005 criteria for sepsis/septic shock. Overall mortality was 23.7%. Among all patients, hourly shock index was associated with mortality: odds ratio of ICU mortality at 0 hour, 1.08, 95% CI (1.04–1.12); odds ratio at 1 hour, 1.09 (1.04–1.13); odds ratio at 2 hours, 1.09 (1.05–1.13); and odds ratio at 6 hours, 1.11 (1.06–1.15). When stratified by age, early shock index was associated with mortality only in children 1–3 and more than or equal to 12 years old. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve in age 1–3 and more than or equal to 12 years old for shock index at admission was 0.69 (95% CI, 0.58–0.80) and 0.62 (95% CI, 0.52–0.72) respectively, indicating a fair predictive marker. Although higher shock index was associated with increased risk of mortality, there was no particular cutoff value with adequate positive or negative likelihood ratios to identify mortality in any age group of children. The improvement of shock index in the first 6 hours of ICU admission was not associated with outcome when analyzed in all patients. However, among patients whose shock index were above the 50th percentile at ICU admission for each age group, improvement of shock index was associated with lower ICU mortality in children between 1–3 and more than or equal to 12 years old (p = 0.02 and p = 0.03, respectively). When controlling for the use of vasoactive therapy within the first 6 hours with logistic regression analysis, shock index at hour 6 remained significantly associated with mortality (odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.05–1.14).
Conclusions: Shock index may have promise as a marker of mortality in children with sepsis/septic shock. Although there is no clear cutoff shock index to identify risk of mortality, given the higher risk of mortality as shock index increases, children with elevated shock index may benefit from more aggressive resuscitation and higher level of care.