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Open Inflamm J. 2011 Oct 7;4:4-15.

Pediatric Sepsis - Part I: "Children are not small adults!"

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Division of Critical Care Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, The Kindervelt Laboratory for Critical Care Medicine Research, Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation.


The recognition, diagnosis, and management of sepsis remain among the greatest challenges in pediatric critical care medicine. Sepsis remains among the leading causes of death in both developed and underdeveloped countries and has an incidence that is predicted to increase each year. Unfortunately, promising therapies derived from preclinical models have universally failed to significantly reduce the substantial mortality and morbidity associated with sepsis. There are several key developmental differences in the host response to infection and therapy that clearly delineate pediatric sepsis as a separate, albeit related, entity from adult sepsis. Thus, there remains a critical need for well-designed epidemiologic and mechanistic studies of pediatric sepsis in order to gain a better understanding of these unique developmental differences so that we may provide the appropriate treatment. Herein, we will review the important differences in the pediatric host response to sepsis, highlighting key differences at the whole-organism level, organ system level, and cellular and molecular level.

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