Objectives: To evaluate the resources available for early diagnosis and treatment of paediatric sepsis at hospitals in developing and developed countries.
Methods: This was a voluntary online survey involving 101 hospitals from 41 countries solicited through the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies contact list and website. The survey was designed to assess the spectrum of sepsis epidemiology, patterns of applied therapies, availability of resources and barriers to optimal sepsis treatment.
Results: Ninety per cent of respondents represented a tertiary or general hospital with paediatric intensive care facilities, including 63% from developed countries. Adequate triage services were absent in more than 20% of centres. Insufficiently trained personnel and lack of a sepsis protocol was reported in 40% of all sites. While there were specific guidelines for sepsis management in 78% of centers (n = 100), protocols for assessing sepsis patients were not applied in nearly 70% of centres. Lack of parental recognition of sepsis and failure of referring centres to diagnose sepsis were identified as major barriers by more than 50% of respondents.
Conclusions: Even among centres with no significant resource constraints and advanced medical systems, significant deficits in sepsis care exist. Early recognition and management remains a key issue and may be addressed through improved triage, augmented support for referring centres and public awareness. Focussed research is necessary at the institutional level to identify and address specific barriers.