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Concept: Shock


Background Whether hydrocortisone reduces mortality among patients with septic shock is unclear. Methods We randomly assigned patients with septic shock who were undergoing mechanical ventilation to receive hydrocortisone (at a dose of 200 mg per day) or placebo for 7 days or until death or discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU), whichever came first. The primary outcome was death from any cause at 90 days. Results From March 2013 through April 2017, a total of 3800 patients underwent randomization. Status with respect to the primary outcome was ascertained in 3658 patients (1832 of whom had been assigned to the hydrocortisone group and 1826 to the placebo group). At 90 days, 511 patients (27.9%) in the hydrocortisone group and 526 (28.8%) in the placebo group had died (odds ratio, 0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.82 to 1.10; P=0.50). The effect of the trial regimen was similar in six prespecified subgroups. Patients who had been assigned to receive hydrocortisone had faster resolution of shock than those assigned to the placebo group (median duration, 3 days [interquartile range, 2 to 5] vs. 4 days [interquartile range, 2 to 9]; hazard ratio, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.23 to 1.41; P<0.001). Patients in the hydrocortisone group had a shorter duration of the initial episode of mechanical ventilation than those in the placebo group (median, 6 days [interquartile range, 3 to 18] vs. 7 days [interquartile range, 3 to 24]; hazard ratio, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.22; P<0.001), but taking into account episodes of recurrence of ventilation, there were no significant differences in the number of days alive and free from mechanical ventilation. Fewer patients in the hydrocortisone group than in the placebo group received a blood transfusion (37.0% vs. 41.7%; odds ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.94; P=0.004). There were no significant between-group differences with respect to mortality at 28 days, the rate of recurrence of shock, the number of days alive and out of the ICU, the number of days alive and out of the hospital, the recurrence of mechanical ventilation, the rate of renal-replacement therapy, and the incidence of new-onset bacteremia or fungemia. Conclusions Among patients with septic shock undergoing mechanical ventilation, a continuous infusion of hydrocortisone did not result in lower 90-day mortality than placebo. (Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and others; ADRENAL number, NCT01448109 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Intensive care medicine, Shock, Interquartile range, Septic shock, Sepsis, Blood transfusion


Our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of sepsis has advanced over the last decade, and evidence-based protocols have improved its outcomes. Here, we review its management in the first hours and afterward, including topics of ongoing study and debate.

Concepts: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Shock, Septic shock, Sepsis


ProCESS Investigators, Yealy DM, Kellum JA, Huang DT, Barnato AE, Weissfeld LA, Pike F, Terndrup T, Wang HE, Hou PC, LoVecchio F, Filbin MR, Shapiro NI, Angus DC. A randomized trial of protocol-based care for early septic shock. N Engl J Med. 2014; 370:1683-93.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Shock, Trigraph, Gh, Septic shock, Sepsis, Chinese-language surnames


The Nuss procedure, which is a minimally invasive approach for treating pectus excavatum, has better functional and cosmetic outcomes than other invasive procedures. Cardiac perforation is the most serious complication and several methods for the prevention of intraoperative events has been developed. Although most cardiac injuries are detected in the operating room, in the case described herein the patient experienced sudden hypovolemic shock during the postoperative recovery period. This indicates that special caution is mandatory even after successful execution of the Nuss procedure.

Concepts: Blood, Surgery, Pectus excavatum, Chest, Sternum, Shock, Minimally invasive, Hypovolemia


Background After a single-center trial and observational studies suggesting that early, goal-directed therapy (EGDT) reduced mortality from septic shock, three multicenter trials (ProCESS, ARISE, and ProMISe) showed no benefit. This meta-analysis of individual patient data from the three recent trials was designed prospectively to improve statistical power and explore heterogeneity of treatment effect of EGDT. Methods We harmonized entry criteria, intervention protocols, outcomes, resource-use measures, and data collection across the trials and specified all analyses before unblinding. After completion of the trials, we pooled data, excluding the protocol-based standard-therapy group from the ProCESS trial, and resolved residual differences. The primary outcome was 90-day mortality. Secondary outcomes included 1-year survival, organ support, and hospitalization costs. We tested for treatment-by-subgroup interactions for 16 patient characteristics and 6 care-delivery characteristics. Results We studied 3723 patients at 138 hospitals in seven countries. Mortality at 90 days was similar for EGDT (462 of 1852 patients [24.9%]) and usual care (475 of 1871 patients [25.4%]); the adjusted odds ratio was 0.97 (95% confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.14; P=0.68). EGDT was associated with greater mean (±SD) use of intensive care (5.3±7.1 vs. 4.9±7.0 days, P=0.04) and cardiovascular support (1.9±3.7 vs. 1.6±2.9 days, P=0.01) than was usual care; other outcomes did not differ significantly, although average costs were higher with EGDT. Subgroup analyses showed no benefit from EGDT for patients with worse shock (higher serum lactate level, combined hypotension and hyperlactatemia, or higher predicted risk of death) or for hospitals with a lower propensity to use vasopressors or fluids during usual resuscitation. Conclusions In this meta-analysis of individual patient data, EGDT did not result in better outcomes than usual care and was associated with higher hospitalization costs across a broad range of patient and hospital characteristics. (Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and others; PRISM number, NCT02030158 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Patient, Hospital, Medical statistics, Shock, Physician, Effect size, Septic shock


Severe sepsis and septic shock are among the leading causes of mortality in the intensive care unit. Over a decade ago, early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) emerged as a novel approach for reducing sepsis mortality and was incorporated into guidelines published by the international Surviving Sepsis Campaign. In addition to requiring early detection of sepsis and prompt initiation of antibiotics, the EGDT protocol requires invasive patient monitoring to guide resuscitation with intravenous fluids, vasopressors, red cell transfusions, and inotropes. The effect of these measures on patient outcomes, however, remains controversial. Recently, three large randomized trials were undertaken to re-examine the effect of EGDT on morbidity and mortality: the ProCESS trial in the United States, the ARISE trial in Australia and New Zealand, and the ProMISe trial in England. These trials showed that EGDT did not significantly decrease mortality in patients with septic shock compared with usual care. In particular, whereas early administration of antibiotics appeared to increase survival, tailoring resuscitation to static measurements of central venous pressure and central venous oxygen saturation did not confer survival benefit to most patients. In the following review, we examine these findings as well as other evidence from recent randomized trials of goal-directed resuscitation. We also discuss future areas of research and emerging paradigms in sepsis trials.

Concepts: Blood, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Shock, Septic shock, Sepsis, Hypotension, Surviving Sepsis Campaign


Lung injury activates multiple pro-inflammatory pathways, including neutrophils, epithelial, and endothelial injury, and coagulation factors leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Low-dose methylprednisolone therapy (MPT) improved oxygenation and ventilation in early pediatric ARDS without altering duration of mechanical ventilation or mortality. We evaluated the effects of MPT on biomarkers of endothelial [Ang-2 and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1)] or epithelial [soluble receptor for activated glycation end products (sRAGE)] injury, neutrophil activation [matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8)], and coagulation (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1).

Concepts: Pulmonology, Blood, Pneumonia, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Shock, Pulmonary contusion, Fibrinolysis, Endothelium


Nociception allows for immediate reflex withdrawal whereas pain allows for longer-term protection via rapid learning. We examine here whether shore crabs placed within a brightly lit chamber learn to avoid one of two dark shelters when that shelter consistently results in shock. Crabs were randomly selected to receive shock or not prior to making their first choice and were tested again over 10 trials. Those that received shock in trial 2, irrespective of shock in trial 1, were more likely to switch shelter choice in the next trial and thus showed rapid discrimination. During trial 1, many crabs emerged from the shock shelter and an increasing proportion emerged in later trials, thus avoiding shock by entering a normally avoided light area. In a final test we switched distinctive visual stimuli positioned above each shelter and/or changed the orientation of the crab when placed in the chamber for the test. The visual stimuli had no effect on choice, but crabs with altered orientation now selected the shock shelter, indicating that they had discriminated between the two shelters on the basis of movement direction. These data, and those of other recent experiments, are consistent with key criteria for pain experience and are broadly similar to those from vertebrate studies.

Concepts: Shock, Blue crab, Portunidae, Carcinus maenas, Portunoidea, Carcinus, Carcinus aestuarii, Crustaceans of the Atlantic Ocean


Vasopressors and inotropes remain a cornerstone in stabilization of the severely impaired hemodynamics and cardiac output in cardiogenic shock (CS). The aim of this study was to analyze current real-life use of these medications, and their impact on outcome and on changes in cardiac and renal biomarkers over time in CS.

Concepts: Cardiology, Heart, Shock, Cardiac arrest, Organ, Circulatory system, Vasoconstriction, Cardiogenic shock


Multiple corticosteroids and treatment regimens have been used as adjuncts in the treatment of septic shock. Qualitative and quantitative differences exist at cellular and tissular levels between the different drugs and their patterns of delivery. The objective of this study was to elucidate any differences between the drugs and their treatment regimens regarding outcomes for corticosteroid use in adult patients with septic shock.

Concepts: Shock, Corticosteroid, Qualitative research, Pharmaceutical drug, Septic shock