Kids at risk of health issues months after sepsis, U of Michigan researchers find

A new national study involving 5,150 children who survived severe illness from sepsis found that one in five either developed a new disease or had an existing disease worsen within six months of discharge.

The findings were published Oct. 10 in JAMA Pediatrics and involved 5,150 survivors of sepsis and 96,361 survivors who were critically ill from other conditions. Overall, children who had sepsis were more likely to develop chronic respiratory failure, chronic kidney disease and problems requirng nutritional dependence. Among the sepsis survivors cohort, 998 children (19.4 percent) had developed a new condition or had an existing health issue worsen within six months of leaving the ICU. 

"Many children who require critical care for sepsis have debilitating physical, cognitive or emotional challenges long after recovery," said Erin Carlton, MD, lead study author and pediatric intensivist at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott CHildren's Hospital in Ann Arbor. "Our findings suggest a need for improved follow up care focused on identifying and treating new or worsening medical conditions."

Sepsis is the leading cause of death among children and newborns in the U.S. About 70,000 children are hospitalized with sepsis every year, researchers said in a news release. 

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