Open Access

The Surviving Sepsis Campaign: raising awareness to reduce mortality

  • Elizabeth Slade1,
  • Pritpal S Tamber2 and
  • Jean-Louis Vincent3
Critical Care20037:1

DOI: 10.1186/cc1876

Published: 8 January 2003

Abstract

Sepsis affects 18 million people worldwide every year, and on average each case costs more than US$22 000 to treat. Despite this there is no consensus on the clinical definition of sepsis, and successful diagnosis and treatment is difficult. The Barcelona Declaration, issued by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign in October 2002, outlines a six-point plan to reduce the relative mortality of sepsis by 25% over the next 5 years. The Campaign organizers are currently producing evidence-based guidelines on source control and management of sepsis, as well as a policy document on how sepsis is managed around the world.

Keywords

diagnosis health education practice guidelines sepsis

At the annual congress of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) in October 2002, the newly formed Surviving Sepsis Campaign issued their 'Barcelona Declaration' – a call for action against sepsis, which is a leading cause of death in the intensive care unit (ICU). Surviving Sepsis aims to harness the support of governments, health agencies, the public and other health care professionals to decrease the relative mortality of sepsis by 25% over the next 5 years.

The idea for the Campaign is based on the previous success of the so-called "Milan Declaration" made at a meeting of the European Association for the Study of Obesity, which helped raise awareness of the problems of obesity. A similar success is hoped for Surviving Sepsis, which is a collaborative project by three major intensive/critical care organisations: the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM), the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), and the International Sepsis Forum (ISF). Although the initial funding for the Campaign was provided by an unrestricted educational grant from Eli Lilly and Company, both Baxter and Edwards Lifesciences are now contributors. The Campaign organisers also continue to seek funding from other commercial and non-commercial sources.

The documented incidence of sepsis worldwide is 1.8 million each year, but this number is confounded by a low diagnostic rate and difficulties in tracking sepsis in many countries. Surviving Sepsis estimate that with an incidence of 3 in 1000 the true number of cases each year reaches 18 million, and with a mortality rate of almost 30% it becomes a leading cause of death worldwide [1,2]. The incidence is set to rise as the population ages, the elderly being worse affected [1]. Sepsis costs on average US$22 000 per patient, and its treatment therefore has a great impact on hospitals' financial resources, with US$16.7 billion each year being spent in the USA alone [1]. The cost of treating an ICU patient with sepsis is six times greater than that of treating a patient without sepsis [3].

The Campaign aims to raise awareness of the challenges associated with sepsis. The fundamental challenge is the difficulty in its diagnosis [4,5]. There is no consensus on the clinical definition of sepsis and, because of lack of training, intensivists often miss the diagnosis [6]; this is especially problematic, given that early treatment is associated with greater success [7]. Another challenge is that the cause of sepsis is often hard to pinpoint and therefore manage [8]. The incidence of sepsis is increasing, not just as a result of the aforementioned ageing population but also because of the development of resistance to antibiotics [9]. Even with successful treatment the effects of sepsis can be long lasting, with survivors having a significantly lower quality of life than before their illness [10].

What will Surviving Sepsis do?

The Barcelona Declaration outlined a six-point action plan (Table 1) aimed at improving the management of sepsis. The declaration – in essence a document outlining the problems associated with sepsis, a statement of intent and a call to action – recognizes the importance of increasing awareness of sepsis among health care professionals, governments, the public and funding bodies. Using the Declaration as a springboard, Surviving Sepsis is currently collaborating with national societies to find how countries manage sepsis, the challenges they encounter and how their hospital services are structured. From this they hope to create a policy document by the second quarter of 2003, which they will use to secure further sponsorship, particularly from governments and bodies such as the World Health Organization and the US National Institutes of Health. This sponsorship will fund the production of evidence-based guidelines on the management of sepsis, which Surviving Sepsis hopes to release at the annual congress of the ESICM in October 2003. These guidelines will reiterate the definition of sepsis given by the 'Washington paper' – which is yet to be published but has been described elsewhere [5] – and will be the first step toward a global strategy to combat sepsis that can be adapted to local use. In the meantime, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign is planning a presentation describing the public's awareness of sepsis, and a summary of the process of producing the guidelines on source control and management at the upcoming SCCM's Critical Care Congress in January 2003.
Table 1

Call to action: the Surviving Sepsis six-point action plan

Issue

Details

Awareness

Increase awareness of health care professionals, governments, health and funding agencies, and the public of the high frequency and mortality associated with sepsis

Diagnosis

Improve the early and accurate diagnosis of sepsis by developing a clear and clinically relevant definition of sepsis and disseminating it to our peers

Treatment

Increase the use of appropriate treatments and interventions by disseminating the range of care options and urging their timely use

Education

Encourage the education of all health care professionals who manage sepsis patients by providing leadership, support and information to them about all aspects of sepsis management, including diagnosis, treatments and interventions, and standards of care

Counselling

Provide a framework for improving and accelerating access to post-ICU care and counselling for sepsis patients

Referral

Recognize the need for clear referral guidelines that are accepted and adopted at a local level in all countries by initiating the development of global guidelines

Data from Surviving Sepsis [6]. ICU, intensive care unit.

With the Barcelona Declaration, the evidence-based guidelines and the policy document describing practices in different countries, those involved in Surviving Sepsis hope that governments, health agencies, the public and health care professionals will support their campaign to tackle the challenges of sepsis.

Abbreviations

ESICM: 

European Society of Intensive Care Medicine

ICU: 

intensive care unit

ISF: 

International Sepsis Forum

SCCM: 

Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Declarations

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Critical Care
(2)
Critical Care
(3)
Department of Intensive Care, Critical Care and Head,Erasme Hospital

References

  1. Angus DC, Linde-Zwirble WT, Lidicker J, Clermont G, Carcillo J, Pinsky MR: Epidemiology of severe sepsis in the United States: analysis of incidence, outcome, and associated costs of care. Crit Care Med 2001, 29: 1303-1310. 10.1097/00003246-200107000-00002View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Hoyert DL, Anderson RN: Age-adjusted death rates: trend data based on the year 2000 standard population. Natl Vital Stat Rep 2001, 49: 1-6.Google Scholar
  3. Edbrooke DL, Hibbert CL, Kingsley JM, Smith S, Bright NM, Quinn JM: The patient-related costs of care for sepsis patients in a United Kingdom adult general intensive care unit. Crit Care Med 1999, 27: 1760-1767. 10.1097/00003246-199909000-00010View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Angus D, Wax R: Epidemiology of sepsis: an update. Crit Care Med 2001,29(suppl):S109-S116.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Vincent J-L: Sepsis definitions. Lancet Infect Dis 2002, 2: 135. 10.1016/S1473-3099(02)00232-3View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Surviving Sepsis[http://www.survivingsepsis.org]
  7. Rivers E, Nguyen B, Havstad S, Ressler J, Muzzin A, Knoblich B, Peterson E, Tomlanovich M, for the Early Goal-Directed Therapy Collaborative Group: Early goal-directed therapy in the treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock. N Engl J Med 2001, 345: 1368-1377. 10.1056/NEJMoa010307View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Wheeler AP, Bernard GR: Treating patients with severe sepsis. N Engl J Med 1999, 340: 207-214. 10.1056/NEJM199901213400307View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Wenzel RP, Edmond MB: Managing antibiotic resistance. N Engl J Med 2000, 343: 1961-1963. 10.1056/NEJM200012283432610View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Heyland DK, Hopman W, Coo H, Tranmer J, McColl MA: Long-term health-related quality of life in survivors of sepsis. Short Form 36: a valid and reliable measure of health-related quality of life. Crit Care Med 2000, 28: 3599-3605.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright

© BioMed Central Ltd 2003

Advertisement