International critical care doctors release first-ever guidelines for sepsis

02/24/04

Surviving sepsis campaign takes vital step towards reducing sepsis deaths by 25 percent

Orlando, FL, February 24, 2004, -- The first clinical management guidelines ever to address the treatment of patients with severe sepsis were unveiled today at the 33rd Annual Critical Care Congress of the Society for Critical Care Medicine. The product of an historic collaboration of critical care professionals from around the world, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines for Management of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock provide clinicians with evidence-based recommendations as part of an effort that could save over 50,000 lives annually in the United States, and hundreds of thousands worldwide.

"In many other disease areas, treatment practice guidelines have been effective at improving care and, in many cases, saving lives," said R. Phillip Dellinger, M.D., Director, Critical Care Section, Cooper University Hospital/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Camden, N.J, and Co-Chair of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign's Guidelines Committee. "We are pleased to offer these tools to clinicians in critical care, and hope they are put into practice now against one of the most deadly enemies our profession faces every day."

The guidelines, in addition to today's presentation, will also appear in the March issues of both Critical Care Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine. Following those publications, the guidelines will be posted on line, free of charge, at the SCCM site, and the sites of participating organizations.

Among the recommendations made by the guidelines committee to their colleagues:

  • More aggressive recognition and diagnosis of sepsis in all hospital departments
  • Monitoring of central venous oxygen saturation levels
  • Empiric, timely antibiotic therapy to fight the underlying infection
  • Maintenance of adequate blood pressure through IV fluids and/or medications
  • When localizable, removal or reduction of the source of the infection (for instance, removal of a potentially infected catheter or drainage of an abscess)

"Based on the most rigorous scientific evidence available, these recommendations standardize the approach toward and clinical management of severe sepsis, and are a major advance that will benefit hundreds of thousands of sepsis patients in the years ahead," said Graham Ramsay, MD, University Hospital Maastricht, the Netherlands, President of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, and along with Dr. Dellinger and Mitchell Levy, M.D., of Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital co-chair of the guidelines committee. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign administered jointly by the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, International Sepsis Forum, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine was launched in October 2002 with the goal of reducing the sepsis mortality rate by at least 25 percent within five years. The campaign, already endorsed by eleven of the world's leading medical societies , will now focus on the adoption and implementation of the guidelines released today. Eli Lilly & Co., Baxter International, and Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, supported the campaign with unrestricted educational grants.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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