Pediatric sepsis remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. This study aimed to identify the incidence of sepsis and septic shock among patients admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of a tertiary center in Saudi Arabia.  Patients’ demographics and risk factors associated with sepsis-related mortality were also investigated.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted in the PICU of King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah (KAMC-J). KAMC-J is a tertiary care hospital in the western region of Saudi Arabia. A total of 2389 patients admitted to the PICU of KAMC-J between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017 were screened and evaluated for sepsis using The Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3).
Of the 2389 total admissions to the PICU, 113 patients (4.9%) met the definition of Sepsis-3; 50.4% of the 113 patients met the definition of septic shock. Most patients (66.3%) were less than 6 years old, and 52.2% were male. Eight-five patients (75.2%) had underlying comorbidities. The respiratory system was the most common primary site of infection (57.5%). Bacterial and viral infections were the most common infectious etiology with reported rates of 29.2 and 21.2%, respectively. The median duration of PICU stay was 8 days and the 28-day PICU mortality rate was 23.9%. A Pediatric Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (pSOFA) Score greater than four and a pre-existing percutaneous central venous catheter were associated with a significant increase in mortality, with adjusted odds ratios of 3.6 (95% confidence interval: 1.30-9.93) and 9.27 (95% confidence interval: 1.28-67.29), respectively.
The incidence of sepsis in our institution is comparable to that reported internationally; however, the mortality rate is higher than that of developed countries. Nationwide studies identifying sepsis epidemiology are needed to improve the outcome of pediatric sepsis. Following international guidelines for central-line insertion and maintenance is of paramount importance.

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