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Heart failure in pediatric septic shock: Utilizing inotropic support

Tabbutt, Sarah MD, PhD


Septic shock presents a unique challenge in the pediatric patient. Sepsis stimulates the release of inflammatory mediators that can compromise cardiac function. Oxygen extraction abnormalities, diminished responses to adrenergic agonists, and impaired ventricular function often result. After fluid resuscitation and antibiotic therapy, careful cardiovascular assessment is needed to administer appropriate inotropic and vasoactive drugs.

From Cardiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

As yet, no specific therapy other than fluid resuscitation and treating the infectious cause has been shown to improve survival in pediatric or adult patients with septic shock.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc.

Address requests for reprints to: Sarah Tabbutt, MD, PhD, The Cardiac Center, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail:

© 2001 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins