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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


CARVALHO, Paulo R.A.  and  TROTTA, Eliana de A.. Advances in sepsis diagnosis and treatment. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2003, vol.79, suppl.2, pp.S195-S204. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To present a critical and updated review about sepsis, focusing especially on diagnosis and treatment. SOURCE OF DATA: Literature review of Medline, including review articles, clinical trials and original research. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: The International Sepsis Definitions Conference amplified the list of possible clinical and laboratory signs of sepsis, which may allow for more efficacious suspicion and management. In terms of laboratory evaluation, in addition to the research for infectious agents, many inflammatory response markers, such as inflammatory cytokines and procalcitonin, have been identified. However, they lack sensitivity and specificity for safe diagnosis. In terms of treatment, early intervention to prevent hemodynamic disturbances is still essential for a positive outcome, together with the appropriate use of antimicrobials. The value of treatments to remove toxins and to increase the innate immune response has not yet been established. The use of isolated inflammatory response blockers, at any stage of sepsis, does not decrease mortality. The use of corticosteroid makes a comeback with encouraging results, even in patients without sepsis-related adrenal insufficiency. A large study on activated protein C (drotrecogin-a) reports a 6% decrease in mortality in a selected sample, suggesting the possibility of a better prognosis for sepsis patients. CONCLUSIONS: In comparison to the advances of the past few years, little has been achieved in terms of decreasing sepsis-related mortality due to the complexity of the pathogen-host relationships. The individual regulation of host reactions did not have the expected effects. The benefits of some known strategies were confirmed. Other types of treatment, such as corticosteroids and activated protein C therapies, are emerging as promising alternatives. Research indicates that the combination of immune modulator therapies is probably the best choice to improve outcomes in sepsis.

Keywords : Sepsis; systemic inflammatory response syndrome; critical care.

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