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Concept: Surviving Sepsis Campaign


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


Prior to 2001 there was no standard for early management of severe sepsis and septic shock in the emergency department. In the presence of standard or usual care, the prevailing mortality was over 40-50 %. In response, a systems-based approach, similar to that in acute myocardial infarction, stroke and trauma, called early goal-directed therapy was compared to standard care and this clinical trial resulted in a significant mortality reduction. Since the publication of that trial, similar outcome benefits have been reported in over 70 observational and randomized controlled studies comprising over 70,000 patients. As a result, early goal-directed therapy was largely incorporated into the first 6 hours of sepsis management (resuscitation bundle) adopted by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign and disseminated internationally as the standard of care for early sepsis management. Recently a trio of trials (ProCESS, ARISE, and ProMISe), while reporting an all-time low sepsis mortality, question the continued need for all of the elements of early goal-directed therapy or the need for protocolized care for patients with severe and septic shock. A review of the early hemodynamic pathogenesis, historical development, and definition of early goal-directed therapy, comparing trial conduction methodology and the changing landscape of sepsis mortality, are essential for an appropriate interpretation of these trials and their conclusions.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Medical emergencies, Cardiac arrest, Septic shock, Sepsis, Surviving Sepsis Campaign


Annually affecting over 18 million people worldwide, sepsis is common, deadly, and costly. Despite significant effort by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign and other initiatives, sepsis remains underrecognized and undertreated.

Concepts: Sepsis, Surviving Sepsis Campaign, Business game, Simulations and games in economics education




Background Early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) has been endorsed in the guidelines of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign as a key strategy to decrease mortality among patients presenting to the emergency department with septic shock. However, its effectiveness is uncertain. Methods In this trial conducted at 51 centers (mostly in Australia or New Zealand), we randomly assigned patients presenting to the emergency department with early septic shock to receive either EGDT or usual care. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality within 90 days after randomization. Results Of the 1600 enrolled patients, 796 were assigned to the EGDT group and 804 to the usual-care group. Primary outcome data were available for more than 99% of the patients. Patients in the EGDT group received a larger mean (±SD) volume of intravenous fluids in the first 6 hours after randomization than did those in the usual-care group (1964±1415 ml vs. 1713±1401 ml) and were more likely to receive vasopressor infusions (66.6% vs. 57.8%), red-cell transfusions (13.6% vs. 7.0%), and dobutamine (15.4% vs. 2.6%) (P<0.001 for all comparisons). At 90 days after randomization, 147 deaths had occurred in the EGDT group and 150 had occurred in the usual-care group, for rates of death of 18.6% and 18.8%, respectively (absolute risk difference with EGDT vs. usual care, -0.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, -4.1 to 3.6; P=0.90). There was no significant difference in survival time, in-hospital mortality, duration of organ support, or length of hospital stay. Conclusions In critically ill patients presenting to the emergency department with early septic shock, EGDT did not reduce all-cause mortality at 90 days. (Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and the Alfred Foundation; ARISE number, NCT00975793 .).

Concepts: Death, Hospital, Medical statistics, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Septic shock, Sepsis, Surviving Sepsis Campaign


IDSA did not endorse the 2016 Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines despite being represented in the working group that drafted the guidelines document. Leadership from IDSA, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine had numerous amicable discussions primarily regarding the bolded, rated guidelines recommendations. Our societies had different perspectives, however, regarding the interpretation of the major studies that informed the guidelines' recommendations thus leading us to different conclusions and different perspectives on the recommendations. IDSA consequently elected not to endorse the guidelines. IDSA nonetheless hopes to be able to continue collaborating with the Surviving Sepsis Campaign and the Society of Critical Care Medicine to resolve our differences and to develop further strategies together to prevent sepsis and septic shock as well as reduce death and disability from these conditions both nationally and globally.

Concepts: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Sociology, Septic shock, Major, Sepsis, Society, Surviving Sepsis Campaign


Compelling evidence has shown that aggressive resuscitation bundles, adequate source control, appropriate antibiotic therapy, and organ support are cornerstone for the success in the treatment of patients with sepsis. Delay in the initiation of appropriate antibiotic therapy has been recognized as a risk factor for mortality. To perform a retrospective analysis on the Surviving Sepsis Campaign database to evaluate the relationship between timing of antibiotic administration and mortality.

Concepts: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Medical emergencies, Antibiotic, Septic shock, Sepsis, Surviving Sepsis Campaign


To specify when delays of specific 3-hour bundle Surviving Sepsis Campaign guideline recommendations applied to severe sepsis or septic shock become harmful and impact mortality.

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


Sepsis is a rapidly evolving disease with a high mortality rate. The early identification of sepsis and the implementation of early evidence-based therapies have been recognized to improve outcome and decrease sepsis-related mortality. The aim of this study was to compare the accuracy of the standard diagnostic work-up of septic patients with an integrated approach using early point of care ultrasound (POCUS) to identify the source of infection and to speed up the time to diagnosis. We enrolled a consecutive sample of adult patients admitted to the ED who met the Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) criteria for sepsis. For every patient, the emergency physician was asked to identify the septic source after the initial clinical assessment and after POCUS. Patients were then addressed to the standard predefined work-up. The impression at the initial clinical assessment and POCUS-implemented diagnosis was compared with the final diagnosis of the septic source, determined by independent review of the entire medical record after discharge. Two hundred consecutive patients entered the study. A final diagnosis of the septic source was obtained in 178 out of 200 patients (89 %). POCUS-implemented diagnosis had a sensitivity of 73 % (95 % CI 66-79 %), a specificity of 95 % (95 % CI 77-99 %), and an accuracy of 75 %. Clinical impression after the initial clinical assessment (T0) had a sensitivity of 48 % (CI 95 % 41-55 %) and a specificity of 86 % (CI 95 % 66-95 %). POCUS improved the sensitivity of the initial clinical impression by 25 %. POCUS-implemented diagnoses were always obtained within 10 min. Instead the septic source was identified within 1 h in only 21.9 % and within 3 h in 52.8 % with a standard work-up. POCUS-implemented diagnosis is an effective and reliable tool for the identification of septic source, and it is superior to the initial clinical evaluation alone. It is likely that a wider use of POCUS in an emergency setting will allow a faster diagnosis of the septic source, leading to more appropriate and prompt antimicrobial therapy and source control strategies.

Concepts: Mortality rate, Diagnosis, Medical statistics, Evaluation, Intensive care medicine, Physician, Sepsis, Surviving Sepsis Campaign