Children commonly face new and worsening health problems months after critical illness from sepsis, according to a new study.
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to infection causes inflammation throughout the body. It can lead to organ failure and death.
In the study, researchers followed nearly 1,800 children who had sepsis and were treated at one of four pediatric hospitals in the United States.
The children were followed for an average of nearly four years.
During that time, nearly one-third of the children faced new or worsening health problems, the study found.
The most common problems included developmental delays, learning difficulties, anxiety, depression, and behavior problems.
“Our findings suggest that sepsis in children is not just a short-term illness with a full recovery,” said study senior author Dr. P. Michael Murphy.
“There is a significant number of children who have long-term consequences from sepsis that affect their health, development, and daily functioning,” Murphy said in a news release from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The findings highlight the need for more research on the long-term effects of sepsis in children, the study authors said.
In the meantime, parents should be aware that their child may experience long-term health problems after surviving sepsis, and they should be alert for any changes in their child’s health, development, or behavior.
One of the lesser-known dangers of sepsis is that the condition can worsen months after a child’s initial illness, according to a new study.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection injures its own tissues and organs. The condition is particularly dangerous in young children, who often have not yet developed the immunities needed to fight off infection.
While sepsis can occur suddenly and without warning, the new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that for many children, the condition can worsen months after their initial illness.
In the study, researchers followed 201 children who had been hospitalized with sepsis. Of those children, 43% experienced new or worsening health problems within six months of being discharged from the hospital.
The most common problems experienced by these children were neurological issues, such as difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and seizures. Other problems included gastrointestinal issues, such as abdominal pain, and musculoskeletal problems, such as joint pain.
While the study did not examine the reasons behind these new or worsening problems, the researchers say that it is likely that the initial sepsis infection caused damage to the children’s developing brains and bodies.
This damage may not be immediately apparent, but can lead to long-term problems. The researchers say that these new findings underscore the need for long-term follow-up care for children who have been hospitalized with sepsis.
“Our study highlights the importance of close monitoring of children after sepsis, even after they seem to have fully recovered,” said study author Dr. Mobeen H. Rathore in a press release.
“This is especially important because many of the new health problems that can arise after sepsis are serious and can have a significant impact on a child’s quality of life.”