Staphylococcus epidermidis sepsis in pediatric patients: Clinical and therapeutic considerations

L. R. Scherer, Karen W. West, Thomas R. Weber, Martin Kleiman, Jay L. Grosfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


This report concerns 60 children with documented Staphylococcus epidermidis sepsis. There were 34 boys and 26 girls, ages 2 weeks to 15 years. The primary diagnosis included malignancy (13), congenital (13) or acquired (11) gastrointestinal disorders, prematurity (7), cardiac defect (5), hydrocephalus (2) and miscellaneous (9). Clinical presentation included fever (54), tachycardia (15), lethargy (20), hypotension (8), irritability (6), increased gastric residuals (6) and apnea/bradycardia (3). A documented source of sepsis was noted in 56 patients, including percutaneous central venous catheters (23), Broviac catheters (17), umbilical arterial catheters (6), wound (3), V-P shunt (2), cardiac defect (2), cholangitis (1), chest tube (1) and peripheral arterial line (1). There were six sepsis-related deaths, four in premature infants. Two of six infected subclavian catheters were treated successfully with vancomycin. Infection was successfully cleared in 20 of 23 infected Broviac catheters with vancomycin through the line. However, six were eventually removed for tract infection (1), persistent fever (2), and Candida sp. infection (3). Although once considered a nonpathogenic skin contaminant, S. epidermidis has emerged as a serious pathogen in hospitalized, immunosuppressed, premature and malnourished pediatric patients. Indwelling catheters enhance the likelihood of infection in these patients. Agressive antimicrobial therapy is vital in this potentially lethal infection. Vancomycin proved efficacious in this series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-361
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1984


  • catheter sepsis
  • Staphylococcal epidermidis
  • vancomycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery

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