Paediatric Sepsis 6

Consider sepsis or septic shock if a child has a suspected or proven infection and has at least 2 of the following:

  • Core temperature <36°C or >38.5°C
  • Inappropriate tachycardia (according to local criteria or advanced paediatric life support guidance)
  • Altered mental state (e.g., sleepiness, irritability, lethargy, floppiness, decreased conscious level)
  • Reduced peripheral perfusion or prolonged capillary refill.

If in doubt, seek an experienced opinion!

Within 1 hour of presentation, sepsis should be treated with:

  • Supplemental oxygen
  • IV (or IO) access – within 5 minutes of presentation – and blood tests including blood cultures, blood glucose,  and blood gas.
    • FBC, serum lactate, and CRP should also be ordered for baseline assessment.
    • Low blood glucose should be treated
  • IV or IO antibiotics should be given with broad-spectrum cover as per local policies.
  • Fluid resuscitation should be considered – aim to restore normal circulating volume and physiological parameters. Isotonic fluid (20 mL/kg) should be titrated over 5 minutes and repeated as necessary.
    • Beware fluid overload – look for crepitations and hepatomegaly.
  • Experienced senior clinicians or specialists should be involved and consulted early.
  • Inotropes should be considered early if normal physiological parameters are not restored after giving ≥40 mL/kg of fluids. It is important to note that adrenaline (epinephrine) or dopamine may be given via peripheral IV or IO access.

UK Sepsis Trust have Red Flag screening & action tool –

Start Sepsis6 pathway if ONE red flag:

  • objective change in behaviour or mental state
  • Unrousable or won’t stay awake
  • Looks very ill to HCP
  • Sats under 90% or new need for oxygen
  • Severe tachypnoea
  • Severe tachycardia
  • Bradycardia
  • Not passed urine in last 18h
  • Mottled, ashen or blue skin, lips or tongue
  • Non-blanching rash

Otherwise, any amber flags:

  • Behaving abnormally, not wanting to play
  • Significantly decreased activity/parental concern
  • Sats under 90^% or moderate tachypnoea
  • Moderate tachycardia
  • CRT >=3secs
  • Reduced urine output
  • leg pain
  • Cold feet/hands
  • Immunocompromise

If 2 then do bloods, consider if just 1.  Review by ST4 within 1 hour.

If lactate >2 then start Sepsis6