To determine the effect of an automated sepsis screening tool on treatment and outcomes of severe sepsis in a pediatric emergency department (ED).
Retrospective cohort study of encounters of patients with severe sepsis in a pediatric ED with a high volume of pediatric sepsis cases over a 2-year period. The automated sepsis screening algorithm replaced a manual screen 1 year into the study. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients treated for sepsis while in the ED. Secondary outcomes were time from ED arrival to first intravenous (IV) antibiotic and first IV fluid bolus, volume of fluid administered in the ED, 30-day mortality, intensive care unit-free days, and hospital-free days.
Results: In year 1 of the study, 8910 of 61 026 (14.6%) of encounters had a manual sepsis screen; 137 patients met criteria for severe sepsis. In year 2, 100% of 61 195 encounters had an automated sepsis screen and there were 136 cases of severe sepsis. There was a higher proportion of patients with severe sepsis who had an active malignancy and indwelling central venous catheter in year 2. There were no differences in the proportion of patients treated for sepsis in the ED, time to first IV antibiotic or first IV fluid bolus, fluid volume delivered in the ED, hospital-free days, intensive care unit-free days, or 30-day mortality after implementation of the automated screening algorithm.
An automated sepsis screening algorithm introduced into an academic pediatric ED with a high volume of sepsis cases did not lead to improvements in treatment or outcomes of severe sepsis in this study.