Neonatal and pediatric critical care is markedly different from adult critical care because of the physiologic and hemodynamic dissimilarities between immature and adult animals. Clinicians are often wary of treating these patients because of their small size and the presumptive limitations in diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Nevertheless, we have the ability to treat these young animals aggressively. In doing so, however, we must be cognizant of the unique distinctions among pediatric patients with regard to normal physiologic variables that affect physical examination findings and diagnostic test results (see Pediatrics by the Age).


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