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  • Open Access

The incidence of serious bleeding events in a global, single-arm, open-label trial of Drotrecogin alfa (activated) in adult patients with severe sepsis (ENHANCE): comparisons with PROWESS

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Critical Care20048 (Suppl 1) :P116

  • Published:


  • Severe Sepsis
  • Bleeding Event
  • Bleeding Rate
  • Drug Infusion
  • Fatal Event


A global, single-arm, open-label trial of Drotrecogin alfa (activated) (DrotAA) in adult patients with severe sepsis was subsequently conducted at 361 sites in 25 countries (ENHANCE, n = 2378). Reported here are 28-day all-cause mortality and safety data.


Inclusion/exclusion criteria and the definition of serious adverse events (SAE) were similar to PROWESS. Patients at high risk of bleding were excluded from participation. SAE bleeding rates, including intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), during the study drug infusion period (infusion period + 1 day) were determined and the all-cause mortality was assessed at day 28.


Serious bleeding rates and fatal event rates for PROWESS and ENHANCE are presented in Table 1. Overall 28-day mortality: PROWESS placebo = 30.8%, PROWESS DrotAA = 24.7%, ENHANCE DrotAA = 25.3%. As in PROWESS, bleeding was the most common drug-related complication associated with DrotAA. A total 48.9% of SAE bleeding events were adjudicated as procedure-related. In ENHANCE, the ICH rate during infusion was 0.6% (n = 15), of which five (0.2%) were fatal. ICH rates for placebo vs DrotAA in PROWESS were 0% and 0.2% (n = 2, both fatal), respectively. A higher postinfusion rate of serious bleeding was observed in ENHANCE, suggesting a higher overall background bleeding rate, relative to PROWESS.
Table 1



PROWESS: placebo



Total n




During infusion


   Serious bleed

1.0 (n = 8)

2.4 (n = 20)

3.6 (n = 85)

   Fatal event

0.1 (n = 1)

0.5 (n = 4)

0.5 (n = 11)



   Serious bleed

1.1 (n = 9)

1.2 (n = 10)

2.9 (n = 70)

Values are shown as rates (%) unless otherwise indicated.


Twenty-eight-day survival was similar in PROWESS and ENHANCE. Serious bleeding events during infusion of DrotAA were slightly more frequent in ENHANCE than in PROWESS; the proportion of fatal bleeding events was the same. However, the background bleeding rate in ENHANCE may have been higher. The ENHANCE safety and efficacy data are highly consistent with PROWESS, and reinforce the favorable benefit–risk profile of DrotAA in patients with severe sepsis.



This research was supported by Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Authors’ Affiliations

St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK
Erasme Hospital, Brussels, Belgium
University of Calgary, Canada
Cochin Institute, Paris, France
Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA


© BioMed Central Ltd. 2004