March 29, 2018

Background: There have now been several trials published on the use of steroids in sepsis.  In 2002, we had the Annane Trial, with 299 patients showing mortality and shock reversal benefit in sepsis with hydrocortisone.  Then in 2008 we had the CORTICUS trial, with 499 patients, which found a faster reversal of shock, but no benefit in mortality.  Next the HYPRESS trial published in 2016 with 380 patients, with severe sepsis, not septic shock,  showed no difference in mortality or time to reversal of shock.  And finally the ADRENAL Trial published this year with 3800 patients show no difference in mortality, but a small benefit in reversal of shock.  Due to these mixed results, many physicians have variable practice patterns with the use of steroids in sepsis/septic shock.  Now, we have the APROCCHSS trial looking at hydrocortisone plus fludrocortisone for adults with septic shock (By the way the lead author is the same author that published the 2002 steroids in sepsis trial…Annane).

May 1, 2017

Background: Just a few months ago the surviving sepsis campaign published their international guidelines for management of sepsis and septic shock [1].  There has been a lot of talk in the FOAM world about sepsis 3.0 and this is the first update since the introduction. This was a 67 page document that made a total of 93 statements on the early management and resuscitation of patients with sepsis or septic shock.  1/3 of the statements were strong recommendations and just over 1/3 were weak recommendations. Instead of going through every component of this document, we thought we would discuss one of the potentially biggest components of sepsis care that  would affect clinical practice for those of us on the front lines. One of the main reasons we have seen a mortality decrease in sepsis overtime is due to the proactive nature health care professionals have taken in sepsis management.  The so called ABC’s of sepsis management: Early identification, Early fluids, and Early antibiotics. One of the biggest components of this is early identification of these patients.

April 7, 2017

Background: The overall mortality in sepsis has decreased quite a bit in the last decade or so, however for a subset of patients, like those with Septic Shock, the mortality still remains high (as high as 50%).  There have been hundreds of studies trying to identify the holy grail to decrease mortality further, but one has not been found thus far.  Marik PE et al [1] published a study in Chest 2016 that has found a potential front runner.  In addition, the authors go on to say, in order to have an impact on a global scale, treatments would not only need to be effective, but also cheap, safe, and readily available; the authors of the following paper may have found just that..

March 28, 2017

Background: With the introduction of sepsis 3.0, came the quick sepsis related organ failure assessment (qSOFA) score. The purpose of this score is supposed to be a bedside tool to help predict which patients are at the greatest risk of poor outcomes.  There are three components to this score: Low systolic blood pressure (≤100mmHg), high respiratory rate (22 breaths per minute), and altered mental status (Glasgow coma scale <15).  Interestingly, nowhere in this score is fever.

October 31, 2016

Background: The most recent surviving sepsis campaign recommends the use of hydrocortisone in patients with refractory septic shock (i.e. vasopressor dependent).  However, the use of hydrocortisone in severe sepsis without shock still remains a very controversial topic. Recommendations for hydrocortisone are mostly based on 2 randomized clinical trials (i.e. Annane et al [2] and CORTICUS [3]), but subsequent meta-analyses had more mixed results.  Shock reversal was consistently improved irrespective of disease severity; however, mortality outcomes were not as consistent.  Therefore, it has been hypothesized that early hydrocortisone administration could prevent shock by attenuating patient’s inflammatory response.
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