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Eur J Pediatr. 2000 Apr;159(4):277-82.

Life-threatening heart failure in meningococcal septic shock in children: non-invasive measurement of cardiac parameters is of important prognostic value.

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Department of Paediatrics, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Emma Kinder Ziekenhuis AMC, The Netherlands.


Heart failure is a life-threatening complication of fulminant meningococcal septic shock (MSS). Depression of left ventricular function, in particular, is thought to be due to circulating meningococcal endotoxin. Myocardial failure leads to ventricular dilation expressed by an increased left-ventricle end-diastolic diameter (LVED). With ultrasonography, LVED can be accurately measured as well as the shortening fraction (SF). In an evaluative study we investigated the accuracy of the SF and compared it to the accuracy of the Glasgow meningococcal septicemia prognostic score (GMSPS) in the prediction of mortality in children with fulminant MSS. In 27 children admitted in a 4-year period with a presumptive clinical diagnosis of fulminant MSS, hypotension persisted for more than 1 h despite volume loading and inotropic therapy. Seven of these children died (26%); all had an SF <0.30 and a GMSPS > or =10 (the sensitivity of both scores was 100%). Positive predictive values of the SF and GMSPS were 41% and 58% respectively.


SF can be used in addition to other severity scores in clinical decision-making and contribute to the selection of children with the worst prospects for inclusion in experimental treatment studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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