Skip to main content

Timing of drotrecogin alfa (activated) treatment in severe sepsis

The effect of the timing of drotrecogin alfa (activated) (DrotAA) treatment on the outcome of severe sepsis was recently evaluated, using the integrated clinical trial database INDEPTH. The evaluation demonstrated an association between earlier treatment (i.e. treatment within 24 hours of the appearance of first organ dysfunction) and lower patient mortality [1].

We assessed the timing of DrotAA treatment in our own (mixed) intensive care unit over a 3-year period. We selected all patients treated with commercial DrotAA since its availability in The Netherlands. Patients were treated with DrotAA according to the national guidelines [2].

As the results presented in Table 1 show, patients treated within 24 hours were younger and more often had pneumo-sepsis (45% versus 9%, P = 0.03), which was due to community-acquired pneumonia in 12 out of 14 cases (86%). Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most frequently involved pathogen in these pneumonia patients (seven of 12 cases, 58%). Notably, and in contrast to the analysis of the INDEPTH data, hospital mortality rates were comparable between early treatment and late treatment (38% versus 36%, P = 0.93).

Table 1 Baseline patient characteristics based on the time to treatment

In this small study evaluating DrotAA treatment practice in our intensive care unit, patients treated earlier were younger and more often had community-acquired pneumonia. Given that patients with community-acquired pneumonia seem to benefit most from DrotAA treatment [3], it would be interesting to identify differences in primary sites of infection between early treatment and late treatment within the INDEPTH data.

Authors' response

Jean-Louis Vincent, James O'Brien Jr, Arthur Wheeler, Xavier Wittebole, Rekha Garg, Benjamin L Trzaskoma and David P Sundin

We thank Dr Choi and colleagues for their interesting comments. We checked the database with Eli Lilly, and we found no differences in the sources of infection according to the timing of intervention.


DrotAA = :

drotrecogin alfa (activated).


  1. 1.

    Vincent JL, O'Brien J Jr, Wheeler A, Wittebole X, Garg R, Trzaskoma BL, Sundin DP: Use of an integrated clinical trial database to evaluate the effect of timing of drotrecogin alfa (activated) treatment in severe sepsis. Crit Care 2006, 10: R74. 10.1186/cc4909

    PubMed Central  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Girbes ARJ, Bakker J, van Deuren M, van Hout BA, van Leeuwen SJ, Levi M, Schultz MJ, van Zanten ARH: Toepassing drotrecogin alpha, geactiveerd proteine C (aPC) bij de behandeling van ernstige sepsis. Neth J Crit Care 2005, 9: 165-166.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Laterre PF, Garber G, Levy H, Wunderink R, Kinasewitz GT, Sollet JP, Maki DG, Bates B, Yan SC, Dhainaut JF: Severe community-acquired pneumonia as a cause of severe sepsis: data from the PROWESS study. Crit Care Med 2005, 33: 952-961. 10.1097/01.CCM.0000162381.24074.D7

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Goda Choi.

Additional information

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Choi, G., de Pont, AC.J. & Schultz, M.J. Timing of drotrecogin alfa (activated) treatment in severe sepsis. Crit Care 10, 419 (2006).

Download citation


  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Early Treatment
  • Severe Sepsis
  • Organ Dysfunction
  • Hospital Mortality