An international group of critical care experts has developed a new data-based criteria for sepsis in children called the Phoenix Criteria. The Phoenix criteria define sepsis as severe response to infection involving organ dysfunction, as opposed to an earlier focus on systemic inflammation.

The new pediatric sepsis criteria and their development are presented in two papers published in JAMA and were recently presented at Society of Critical Care Medicine’s annual conference.

“The last pediatric sepsis criteria were developed nearly 20 years ago and were based on expert opinion, whereas the new criteria we derived are based on data from electronic health records and analysis of more than 3 million pediatric healthcare encounters from 10 hospitals around the world, including in low-resource settings,” said lead author of one of the papers L. Nelson Sanchez-Pinto, MD, MBI, critical care physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago who co-led the data group of the SCCM task force with Tellen D. Bennett, MD, MS, at the University of Colorado.

“We used a machine learning approach to narrow down elements that were most effective in identifying children at high risk of dying from organ dysfunction in the setting of an infection. The criteria we developed rely on four systems – cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and coagulation. These criteria are better than the old ones at identifying children with infections at higher risk of poor outcomes and are globally applicable, including in low-resource settings.”

Source: Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago