Pediatric patients with MRSA infections face high complications rates, but low death rates

Children suffering from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus-related bloodstream infections have a high risk of developing complications, which worsen each day that the infection is left untreated, according to a study published in Pediatrics. However, pediatric MRSA patients' mortality rate remains low compared to adults with the infection.

Researchers examined MRSA infections in 232 patients, younger than 18 years, from 2007 to 2014 in three large children's hospitals. Among children, a majority of MRSA infections are community-acquired. The researchers gathered epidemiological and outcomes data from patients' EHRs.

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The study shows that only 2 percent of the children died from infections caused by MRSA, however, one-fourth developed serious complications, such as blood clots that spread to distant sites including the heart. The pediatric patients suffered from MRSA infection for two days on average, as compared to seven days for adults with MRSA infections. However, with each day, the risk of complications rose by 50 percent for the children.

Around one-third of pediatric patients experienced one of the following:

•    Treatment failure (the infection lasted for more than three days)
•    An infection recurrence within 30 days after the start of treatment
•    Death from the infection

Pediatric patients were most likely to experience treatment failure if the MRSA infections were present in their muscles, bones and blood vessels or if they had a concurrent critical illness. Additionally, concentration of vancomycin did not impact treatment failure among this patient population, the study found.

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