To assess long-term health status in patients who survived meningococcal septic shock in childhood.
Medical and psychological follow-up of a cross-sectional cohort.
Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of a tertiary care university hospital.
All consecutive patients with septic shock and purpura who required intensive care between 1988 and 2001.
Patients and their parents were invited to our follow-up clinic 4 to 16 years after PICU discharge.
Health status was assessed with a standard medical interview, physical examination, renal function test, and the Health Utilities Index Mark 2 (HUI2) and 3 (HUI3).
One hundred twenty patients (response rate 71%) participated in the follow-up (median age at PICU admission, 3.1 years; median follow-up interval, 9.8 years; median age at follow-up, 14.5 years). Thirty-five percent of patients had 1 or more of the following neurological impairments: severe mental retardation with epilepsy (3%), hearing loss (2%), chronic headache (28%), and focal neurological signs (6%), like paresis of 1 arm. One of the 16 patients with septic shock–associated acute renal failure at PICU admission showed signs of mild chronic renal failure (glomerular filtration rate, 62 mL/min/1.73m2; proteinuria; and hypertension). Scores were significantly lower on nearly all HUI2 and HUI3 attributes compared with Dutch population data, indicating poorer health in these patients.
In patients who survived meningococcal septic shock in childhood, one-third showed long-term neurological impairments, ranging from mild to severe and irreversible. Patients reported poorer general health as measured by HUI2 and HUI3.