Evaluation of Corticosteroid Therapy in Childhood Severe Sepsis - a Randomised Pilot Study (StePS)

The recruitment status of this study is unknown because the information has not been verified recently.
Verified August 2010 by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust..
Recruitment status was  Recruiting
Imperial College London
St Mary's NHS Trust
University of Bristol
United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust
Information provided by:
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: August 7, 2008
Last updated: August 20, 2010
Last verified: August 2010

Severe bacterial infections affecting multiple body organs, called severe sepsis (including meningococcal sepsis), remain an important cause of death and disability among children. Although early recognition, powerful antibiotics, and good intensive care have improved outcome, we need new ways to further reduce the number of deaths. Research in adults has shown that steroid replacement therapy might be useful. However, children are known to respond differently to adults and a definitive trial in children is needed because of the potentially harmful as well as beneficial effects of steroids.

This pilot study will provide the necessary information to allow the rational design of a large trial conducted at multiple hospitals investigating the role of corticosteroid replacement therapy in childhood sepsis. The study will provide information on how to measure the effects of steroids, information on length of therapy and a better understanding of how steroids work in children. The results emerging from this study will ultimately allow paediatric intensive care clinicians to know whether or not steroids are safe and/or useful.

The primary objective of this open−label study is therefore to gather clinical and laboratory data with which to inform the design of a large phase 3 double blind randomised controlled trial (RCT). The study will provide basic limited safety data, information on length of therapy and an assessment of possible clinical and laboratory endpoints to be used in addition to mortality.

Definition of sepsis:

Presence of a documented infection (eg clinical evidence of pneumonia, skin or soft tissue infection, purpura fulminans, urinary tract infection, abdominal infection) or a diagnostic positive blood culture (community or hospital acquired) within the last 72 hours and at least two of the following, one of which must be abnormal temperature or leucocyte count[3] core temperature of >38.5°C or <36°C; tachycardia (mean heart rate >2 SD above normal for age); mean respiratory rate > 2 SD above normal for age; leucocyte count elevated or depressed for age.

Definition of severe sepsis:

Sepsis plus cardiovascular organ dysfunction (the need for at least 5mcg/kg/min dopamine or dobutamine, or any amount of adrenaline or noradrenaline support), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or 2 or more other organ dysfunctions.

Condition Intervention Phase
Paediatric Sepsis
Pediatric Sepsis
Drug: hydrocortisone
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Evaluation of Corticosteroid Therapy in Childhood Severe Sepsis (Steroids in Paediatric Sepsis, StePS) - a Randomised Pilot Study

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • primary efficacy endpoint is all cause mortality [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • primary toxicity endpoint is Serious Adverse Events, excluding sepsis-related events specified as secondary outcomes [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • PIM2 [ Time Frame: entry ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • PELOD [ Time Frame: daily to 28 days or PICU discharge ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • ICU mortality [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
  • time until shock reversal, defined as cessation of inotropic support for 24 hours [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • time to resolution of multiorgan dysfunction [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • time to resolution of base deficit [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • time to resolution of lactate [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • time to decision to discharge from ICU [ Time Frame: 28 days ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • laboratory analysis of adrenal function [ Time Frame: 6 days and convalescence ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • laboratory analysis of inflammatory parameters (defined in protocol) [ Time Frame: 6 days and convalescence ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • laboratory analysis of coagulation parameters (defined in protocol) [ Time Frame: 6 days and convalescence ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 90
Study Start Date: April 2008
Estimated Study Completion Date: April 2012
Estimated Primary Completion Date: April 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Treatment Drug: hydrocortisone
Patients will be assigned to treatment with hydrocortisone at 100mg/m2/24 hours in 4 divided doses (25 mg/m2/q 6 hourly) for 8 doses (48 hours) in phase 1 of study (45 patients, 30 receive IMP) or 20 doses (120 hours) in phase 2 (45 patients, 30 receive IMP).
Other Names:
  • Solu-Cortef®
  • Hydrocortisone sodium succinate
No Intervention: Control
in each phase of study 15 patients will receive no IMP as control arm

Detailed Description:
  1. PURPOSE: The Need for a Paediatric Trial of Steroids in Sepsis - potential benefits and risks Numerous targets for new therapies in sepsis have been identified, none of which have been shown to have been of benefit in children. The results of adult studies cannot therefore be extrapolated directly to childhood disease. Corticosteroids alter the inflammatory balance in both beneficial and harmful ways in severe sepsis. Recent adult studies have demonstrated transient adrenal insufficiency is associated with adverse outcome and that corticosteroids increase survival in specific patient groups, and steroid replacement has become a standard of care. There is little uniformity in the approach to steroid replacement therapy amongst leading paediatric centres in the UK. Expert opinion has emphasised that guidance is interim while awaiting appropriate paediatric studies. Steroids are perceived as "safe" and "cheap" but should not be introduced into paediatric practice without further research. Sepsis in childhood differs in terms of mortality (around 10% overall in children vs in excess of 40% in adults), background immunity, co−morbidity, and causative organisms. Given the lower overall mortality in childhood sepsis, steroids have the potential to disrupt the inflammatory balance in children causing greater harm than benefit. It is not known which patients should be targeted for therapeutic intervention; what are the most appropriate endpoints; whether the length of steroid therapy can be shorter in children; or whether immunological rebound will occur.

This is an open randomised prospective pilot exploratory study of corticosteroid replacement therapy in three centres. Adrenal function measurements will be assessed on entry to the study. To investigate the inflammatory profile and the impact of corticosteroid replacement, blood will be taken for cytokine and coagulation protein analysis. This study will provide the pilot data necessary for the design of a definitive trial of corticosteroid replacement therapy with the identification of variables likely to improve our ability to stratify patients for intervention and the mechanistic characterisation of the modulatory effects of steroids on inflammation in children with severe sepsis. Enrolment will be undertaken in two stages (see flowsheet diagrams in protocol). Forty five eligible children will be randomly allocated to steroid replacement therapy for 2 days (n=30) or intensive investigation without intervention (n=15) in a 2:1 randomisation (stage 1); 45 subjects (stage 2) will then be randomly allocated to steroid replacement therapy for 5 days (n=30) or intensive investigation without intervention (n=15). Randomisation will the undertaken in accordance with a computer−generated list and will be stratified by age (<1 years; 1 year or more). Progression from stage 1 to stage 2 will follow an interim analysis by a Trial Monitoring Group to ensure safety. This escalating approach will provide safety data, information on length of therapy and an assessment of possible clinical and laboratory endpoints in addition to mortality, reducing the potential for adverse events in the pilot phase while providing data relevant to this population. A large excess of serious adverse events in stage 1 will result in study termination. After careful consideration by the investigators and during the peer review process, placebo will not be used in this study, which will inform a future large phase 3 randomised controlled trial.

RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS WILL RECEIVE THE FOLLOWING INTERVENTIONS THAT ARE NOT PART OF ROUTINE CLINICAL CARE (Please also refer to figures 1−4 in the protocol that we are unable to reproduce here): Children will be screened on admission to PICU. Entry into the study following consent involves a clinical test of endocrine function involving 2 blood tests. The list of procedures conducted in the study is as follows:

  1. confirm eligibility requirements, assess pre−existing conditions and medical history, record weight, height, vital signs, data to inform clinical severity scores, complete infection assessment, clinically relevant laboratory investigations
  2. corticotrophin stimulation test
  3. multiple study samples (endocrine, cytokine and coagulation tests)
  4. corticosteroid treatment if randomised to treatment group
  5. follow−up in routine clinic

Ages Eligible for Study:   3 Months to 14 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Severe sepsis where enrolment can occur within 20 hours of first contact with paediatric intensive care, or within 20 hours of the diagnosis of severe sepsis when this diagnosis is made on PICU. Randomisation should occur within 24 hours of first contact with paediatric intensive care, or within 24 hours of the diagnosis of severe sepsis when this diagnosis is made on PICU.
  • Requiring mechanical ventilation (The subjects must be mechanically ventilated for entry into the study but this is not time limited. It is routine practice at study centres to pre-emptively ventilate children with evolving sepsis)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Concomitant steroid therapy, vasopressor treatment >24 hrs or use of etomidate (not recommended for use in children less than 10 years and selectively inhibits 11 beta-hydroxylase)
  • Patients who have a recognised indication for steroids
  • Other immunosuppressive/immunomodulatory therapy (not including intravenous immunoglobulin which is considered standard therapy in toxic shock syndrome and may be given for this indication)
  • Significant immunocompromise (eg HIV infection)
  • Advanced malignancy
  • Burns
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Children not likely to survive the time period of the maximum study intervention (5 days)
  • Patients who have undergone organ transplantation (including bone marrow transplantation)
  • Patients undergoing plasma exchange or whole blood exchange transfusion
  • Treatment with an investigational drug or device within the last 30 days prior to enrolment.
  • Patients who have experienced a prior episode of infection or sepsis during the current hospitalisation.
  • Patients who are pregnant (a pregnancy test will be carried out for females of 11 years and above as is standard practice for clinical trials).
  • Immediate families of investigators or site personnel directly affiliated with the study. Immediate family is defined as child or sibling, whether biological or legally adopted.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00732277

Contact: Saul N Faust, MBBS PhD 44 23 8079 4989 s.faust@soton.ac.uk
Contact: Simon Nadel, MBBS 44 20 7886 2494 s.nadel@imperial.ac.uk

United Kingdom
Bristol Royal Hospital for Children Not yet recruiting
Bristol, UK, United Kingdom, BS2 8BJ
Contact: Andrew Wolf    44 7919 974721    awolfbch@aol.com   
Contact: Natalie Fineman    44 117 342 0211    mdxnf@bristol.ac.uk   
Principal Investigator: Andrew Wolf         
Sub-Investigator: James Fraser         
Sub-Investigator: Stephen Marriage         
Sub-Investigator: Peter Davis         
Sub-Investigator: Margrid Schindler         
Sub-Investigator: David Grant         
Sub-Investigator: Ian Jenkins         
Sub-Investigator: Patricia Weir         
Sub-Investigator: Peter Murphy         
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Not yet recruiting
London, UK, United Kingdom, W2 1NY
Contact: Simon Nadel    44 20 7886 2494    s.nadel@imperial.ac.uk   
Contact: Annabelle Smale       Annabelle.Smale@imperial.nhs.uk   
Principal Investigator: Simon Nadel         
Sub-Investigator: Michael Levin         
Sub-Investigator: Parviz Habibi         
Sub-Investigator: David Inwald         
Sub-Investigator: Mehrengise Cooper         
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust Recruiting
Southampton, UK, United Kingdom, SO16 6YD
Contact: Saul N Faust, MBBS PhD    44 23 8079 4989    s.faust@soton.ac.uk   
Contact: Helen Cracknell    44 7917 560685    helen.cracknell@suht.swest.nhs.uk   
Principal Investigator: Saul N Faust         
Sub-Investigator: John V Pappachan         
Sub-Investigator: Michael Marsh         
Sub-Investigator: Iain Macintosh         
Sub-Investigator: Peter Wilson         
Sub-Investigator: Kim Sykes         
Sub-Investigator: Gareth Jones         
Sub-Investigator: Serena Cotterell         
Sponsors and Collaborators
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
Imperial College London
St Mary's NHS Trust
University of Bristol
United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust
Study Chair: Saul N Faust, MBBS PhD University of Southampton
Principal Investigator: Simon Nadel, MB BS Imperial College London
Study Director: Robert S Heyderman, MBBS PhD University of Liverpool
Study Director: Diana M Gibb, MBChB MD Medical Research Council
Study Director: Michael Levin, MBBCH PhD Imperial College London
Principal Investigator: Andrew Wolf, MBBChir MD Univeristy of Bristol
Study Director: John V Pappachan, MB BChir University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
Study Director: Sarah Walker, MA PhD Medical Research Council
Study Director: Carrol Gamble, PhD University of Liverpool / MCRN Clinical Trials Unit
  More Information

Additional Information:

Responsible Party: Director Of Research and Development, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00732277     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: RHM CHI 434, EudraCT: 2007-002788-28, NHS REC: 07/H0504/139
Study First Received: August 7, 2008
Last Updated: August 20, 2010
Health Authority: United Kingdom: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Keywords provided by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
Pathologic Processes
Hydrocortisone acetate
Hydrocortisone 17-butyrate 21-propionate
Cortisol succinate
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Therapeutic Uses
Pharmacologic Actions
Dermatologic Agents

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on September 22, 2014