Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in children

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Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in children

Multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (called in medical jargon MODS - Multiple Organ Dysfuction Syndrome) is a systemic syndrome that causes the alteration of the functions of at least two or more organs of the same patient. It can affect people of all ages, but what are the causes of multi-organ dysfunction syndrome in children?

In this article

  • What is multiorgan dysfunction syndrome
  • The causes of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome
  • Symptoms of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in children
  • Who is most at risk of multiorgan dysfunction syndrome
  • Multiorgan dysfunction and Covid-19

What is multiorgan dysfunction syndrome

La multi-organ dysfunction syndrome occurs when multiple organs of the same person collapse: organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, or others deemed vital go into shock and stop working, carrying the death of those affected.

The causes of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome

Unfortunately, in some cases, about a third, it is not possible to go back to causes which gave rise to the MODS. However, the most common cause is sepsi (o septicemia), i.e. the complication of an infection which in some cases triggers a SIRS, that is, a systemic inflammatory response that damages organs and tissues. 

This response occurs when there is a danger that affects the body, whether it comes from trauma, serious infections (such as those that cause sepsis in fact) or pancreatitis.

When sepsis and SIRS arise, it is essential to take prompt action to reduce the risk of serious consequences or even death.

Symptoms of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in children

Even if it is more frequent in newborns because more easily a risk of bacterial infection, we should not underestimate the sepsis in children, which could also be due to a viral infection, a trauma or a recent operation. Usually the first ones symptoms arrive within 72 hours of the triggering event: it starts with respiratory failure, but symptoms related to liver failure and even gastrointestinal and renal bleeding may follow. Before sepsis turns into septic shock and therefore may be the cause of multiorgan dysfunction syndrome, i infants under three months jaundice, poor appetite, drowsiness, apnea, pulsating fontanel and difficulty breathing may be noted. In the babies over three months, you have to be careful of breathing difficulties, paleness, rapid heartbeats, any skin rasa and a state of confusion and sleepiness.

Neonatal sepsis

La neonatal sepsis it occurs in 0,5-8 in every 1000 cases and is more common in infants with low birth weight, born prematurely, with depressed function (low Apgar score) or in infants with perinatal risk factors. 

Infants are more likely to contract bacteria for two reasons: exposure via the passage into the vaginal canal a Group B Streptococcus, Escherichia Coli, Listeria, Pneumococcus, Salmonella, Monocytogenes and Haemophilus Influenzae type B, and exposure to bacteria present in the hospital, perhaps because undergoing invasive procedures such as catheters o intubazioni.

The main causes of sepsis in children

La sepsis in children with more than three months it is often caused by Pneumococcus and Haemophilus Influenzae, while Meningococcus B and C are rarer. immune system fails to defeat this type of bacteria comes into play the infection which, in the worst case scenario, reaches the blood and lymphatic system, thus causing septicemia and risking compromising the functioning of several vital organs. In this case then the syndrome from multiorgan dysfunction.

Who is most at risk of multiorgan dysfunction syndrome

As we said, the MODS is caused by a sepsi which reaches more organs. Whoever is subjected to it is at risk an operation, who has suffered a trauma or who has contracted, for various reasons, a bacterial or viral infection

Le infections can be kept at bay with the use of antibiotics, but in many cases they can also be prevented: 

  • in the case of newborns, by subjecting the mother to vaginal and rectal swabs before delivery
  • after childbirth, in the case of newborns over three months and children, vaccinating the young against Haemophilus Influenzae and Pneumococcus, responsible for sepsis

Particularly at risk are therefore i unvaccinated children, but also those with chronic diseases or with immune deficiency congenital or acquired.

Read also: Vaccines required by law: here are what they are

Multiorgan dysfunction and Covid-19

Il coronavirus attacks, as we know, the airways. However, it has been shown that it can also cause injury to other organs, such as the heart, kidneys and liver. Some patients, in fact, not only develop lung problems such as pneumonia or respiratory failure, but also have consequences on the functioning of the heart, with high levels of troponin and formations of clots in coronary arteries, on the kidneys, with proteinuria and acute renal failure, or on the neurological system, with even neurocognitive impairment. 

Unfortunately, while around 80% of children have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, some of them develop so-called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), which has sepsis among its characteristics.

La multi-organ dysfunction syndrome it is a condition that occurs when several organs are damaged at the same time, and is more frequent in infants and children with a low immune response due to multiple factors.

Read also: Covid-19, do children transmit the virus?


The multiple organ dysfunction syndrome

Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS), multiple organ failure (MOF): are we winning the battle?

Clinical manifestations of SARS-CoV-2

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  • sepsi
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