The objective of this study was to identify and characterize the most highly cited clinical research articles published on sepsis.
A comprehensive list of citation classics in sepsis was generated by searching the database of Web of Science-Expanded (1970 to present) using keywords 'sepsis' or 'septic shock'. The top 50 cited clinical research papers were retrieved by reading the abstract or full text if needed. Each eligible article was reviewed for basic information, including country of origin, article type, journals, authors, and funding sources.
A total of 2,151 articles were cited more than 100 times; the 50 top-cited clinical articles were published between 1974 and 2008. The number of citations ranged from 372 to 2,932, with a mean of 678 citations per article. These citation classics came from nine countries, of which 26 articles came from the United States. Rush University and the University of Pittsburgh lead the list of classics with six papers each. The 50 top-cited articles were published in 17 journals, with the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association topping the list. The top 50 articles consisted of 21 clinical trials and 29 observational studies.
Our bibliometric analysis provides a historical perspective on the progress of clinical research on sepsis. Articles originating from the United States and published in high-impact journals are most likely to be cited in the field of sepsis research.