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Volume 11 Supplement 4

Sepsis 2007

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Mortality rate reduction associated with severe sepsis and septic shock management protocol implementation


The Surviving Sepsis Campaign is an international effort to reduce severe sepsis and septic shock associated mortality by 25% in 5 years. We developed a management protocol in our institution 2 years ago in order to follow the proposed recommendations of this campaign, and describe the clinical impact of assuming this critical pathway on the mortality rate.


The study was conducted within the emergency department and intensive care unit of a tertiary hospital. A management protocol for severe sepsis and septic shock was based on the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines and was implemented by a 'sepsis' team including emergency department and critical care physicians, intensive care nurses and pharmacists, chaired by a full-time coordinator.


We performed a 'before and after' evaluation of the critical pathway concerning 184 critically ill patients sequentially admitted throughout a 16-month period.


A total of 184 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock entered the study. Ninety-four patients had their analysis performed before the implementation of the standardized protocol (the 'before' group), and 90 patients were managed following the implementation of the protocol (the 'after' group). Basal demographic variables and the severity of illness score (APACHE II) were similar for both groups.

Patients in the 'after' group had statistically more cultures obtained before institution of antibiotics and more patients received antibiotics in a due time (2 hours from diagnosis). In addition, those patients received more corticosteroids and activated protein C (Table 1).

Table 1 Proceedings concerning 'before' versus 'after' groups

The intensive care unit length of stay and the hospital length of stay were similar in both groups. Remarkably the hospital mortality rate was significantly lower (34.4%) in the 'after' group in septic shock patients (67.7% versus 44.4%, P < 0.04) (Figure 1).

Figure 1
figure 1

Mortality rate reduction in septic shock patients (42 deaths in 'before' group versus 32 deaths in 'after' group). P < 0.04.


The implementation of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines through a standardized protocol was associated with a 34% reduction in septic shock-related hospital mortality.

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Fernandes, C.J., de Sousa, A.G., de Paula Dias Santos, G. et al. Mortality rate reduction associated with severe sepsis and septic shock management protocol implementation. Crit Care 11 (Suppl 4), P11 (2007).

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