Sepsis in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Derek S. Wheeler*, Howard E. Jeffries, Jerry J. Zimmerman, Hector R. Wong, Joseph A. Carcillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The survival rate for children with congenital heart disease (CHD) has increased significantly coincident with improved techniques in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiopulmonary bypass and myocardial protection, and perioperative care. Cardiopulmonary bypass, likely in combination with ischemia—reperfusion injury, hypothermia, and surgical trauma, elicits a complex, systemic inflammatory response that is characterized by activation of the complement cascade, release of endotoxin, activation of leukocytes and the vascular endothelium, and release of proinflammatory cytokines. This complex inflammatory state causes a transient immunosuppressed state, which may increase the risk of hospital-acquired infection in these children. Postoperative sepsis occurs in nearly 3% of children undergoing cardiac surgery and has been associated with longer length of stay and mortality risks in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. Herein, we review the epidemiology, pathobiology, and management of sepsis in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • PIRO
  • congenital heart disease
  • immunoparalysis
  • pediatric cardiac surgery
  • pediatrics
  • sepsis
  • septic shock
  • severe sepsis
  • systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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