Preceding Clinical Events in High-risk, Postoperative, Pediatric Cardiac Patients— A Novel Association With Bacteremia

Eran Shostak*, Ofer Schiller, Gabriel Amir, Frenkel Georgy, Tzippy Shochat, Gilat Livni, Haim Ben-Zvi, Orit Manor, Ovadia Dagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Blood stream infections (BSIs) are well described in pediatric cardiac intensive care units (PCICU). We noted that postoperative high-risk patients may develop BSI after a preceding clinical event (PCE). The study aim was to investigate whether high-risk patients who developed bacteremia experienced more PCEs than a similar group of high-risk patients. Design: Retrospective case-control study. Setting: Referral pediatric center. Patients: We enrolled patients who developed bacteremia from March 2010 to November 2019, after undergoing open-heart surgery at a pediatric center. The control group was comprised of case-matched patients with immediate consecutive same surgery. Interventions: None. Measurements: We recorded operative data, common risk factors, postoperative indicators of organ dysfunction, mortality, and PCEs 72 to 24 h before bacteremia emerged. Main results: A total of 200 patients were included (100 with bacteremia and 100 controls). Key demographic and operative parameters were matched. Bacteremia emerged on average on postoperative day 12.8. Skin-associated Gram-positive bacteria were cultured in 10% and Gram-negative bacteria in 84% of the patients. Average central-venous lines (CVL) duration was 9.5 ± 8.4 days. Postoperatively (72 h), indicators of organ dysfunction were significantly worse in patients with bacteremia, with a higher rate of postoperative complications during PCICU length-of-stay (LOS). In the bacteremia group, 72 to 24 h prior to the development of bacteremia, 92 (92%) PCEs were recorded, as compared to 21 (21%) in controls during their entire LOS (odds ratio [OR] 43.3, confidence interval [CI] 18.2−103.1, P <.0001). Conclusions: We propose a 3-hit model demonstrating that high-risk patients undergoing open-heart surgery have significantly higher risk for bacteremia after a PCE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-463
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • bacteremia
  • cardiac surgery
  • intensive care
  • pediatrics
  • sepsis


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