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Jornal de Pediatria

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


PIZARRO, Cristiane Freitas  and  TROSTER, Eduardo Juan. Adrenal function in sepsis and septic shock. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2007, vol.83, n.5, suppl., pp.S155-S162. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE:To review diagnostic criteria and treatment of adrenal insufficiency in pediatric patients with severe sepsis and septic shock. SOURCES: Articles were selected using MEDLINE (1966-June 2007), Embase (1994-2007) and Cochrane Library (2000-2007) databases. following key words were utilized: septic shock, sepsis, corticosteroids, adrenal insufficiency and children. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: There are no well established and accepted criteria to define adrenal insufficiency in critically ill patients. Incidence of adrenal insufficiency varies according to different criteria, and it may range between low values of 15% and high values of 61%. The rapid corticotropin stimulation test is widely used as a method to identify adrenocortical hyporesponsiveness, but controversy exists as to the corticotropin dose to be used. The 250 µg dose is the standard dose. Low doses of corticotropin (1 µg) have recently been proposed, suggesting that they may have higher sensitivity. There are still doubts as to the efficacy of low doses of corticosteroids in children with catecholamine-refractory shock. Further studies are needed to determine whether the treatment of these patients would change morbidity and/or mortality. CONCLUSION: Adrenal insufficiency is common in children with severe sepsis and septic shock and may contribute to the development of catecholamine-refractory shock. However, doubts still persist regarding the efficacy of replacement therapy with low-doses steroids.

Keywords : Septic shock; sepsis; corticosteroids; adrenal insufficiency and children.

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