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Minerva Pediatrica 2009 February;61(1):23-37

language: English

Management of shock in children in the Emergncy Department

Santhanam I. 1, Ranjit S. 2, Kissoon N. 3

1 Pediatric Emergency Medicine Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children Madras Medical College, Chennai, India
2 Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Apollo Hospitals Chennai, India
3 Acute and Critical Care Programs Department of Pediatrics University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada


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Early recognition of shock is the key to successful resuscitation in critically ill children. Often, shock results in or co-exists with myo-cardial dysfunction or acute lung injury. Recognition and appropriate management of these insults is crucial for successful outcomes. Resuscitation should be directed to restoration of tissue perfusion and normalization of cardiac and respiratory function. The underlying cause of shock should also be addressed urgently. The physiological response of individual children to shock resuscitation varies and is often variable and unpredictable. Therefore, repeated assessments with continuous, non-invasive monitoring are needed for taking appropriate decisions in the ED. Although global indices of tissue oxygen delivery such as the mixed venous oxygen saturation (SvO2) help in targeting therapies more accurately, it is often unavailable in emergency settings. Isotonic fluids form the cornerstone of treatment and the amount required for resuscitation is based on etiologies and therapeutic response. After resuscitation has been initiated, targeted history and clinical evaluation must be performed to ascertain the cause of shock. Management of co-morbidities such as asthma and seizures should be implemented simultaneously. Inotropes, respiratory support, antibiotics and steroids may also be needed during the management of shock. While the management of shock can be protocol based, the treatment needs to be individualized depending on the suspected etiology and therapeutic response.

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