The race against the "septic shark".

Abstract:

:Great white sharks are responsible for about 10 cases of death annually worldwide, as compared with millions of deaths caused by sepsis. However, the basic principles of avoiding shark attacks and fighting sepsis seem to be similar: avoidance, attention, and speed, if necessary. The present review discusses the current status of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria, which are actually content for discussion because of their low specificity. Current data suggest that one in eight patients with severe sepsis does not fulfill the SIRS criteria and is consequently missed, and therefore the calls for new definitions of sepsis are getting louder. Furthermore, the need for early treatment of sepsis and fast admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) with experienced stuff is reviewed as well as the early and appropriate initiation of therapy, namely antibiotic and volume therapy. A key feature is the analysis of the studies from the so-called "Sepsis Trilogy" (ProCESS, ARISE, and ProMiSe studies), with a focus on the status of early goal-directed therapy (EGDT). The authors of the "Sepsis Trilogy" concluded that there is no benefit regarding survival in septic patients by using EGDT as compared with standard therapy. However, the low mortality of the control groups within the "Sepsis Trilogy" studies as compared with the Rivers et al. study from 2001 leads to the conclusion that there has been an improvement in the therapy of septic patients, most probably due to the early initiation of therapy as a kind of "standard" in sepsis therapy. Finally, the phenomenon of a "large trial disease" is discussed, exemplary in a trial which investigated the maintenance of the "right" mean arterial pressure in sepsis patients. Even if the result of a large randomized trial might be that there is no difference between two study groups, the real exercise is to identify the patient collectives who might benefit or experience harm due to an intervention. In summary, as compared with swimming in dangerous waters, high attention is needed in handling septic patients. Once an attack has occurred, speed is of utmost importance (i.e., initiation of therapy and admission to the ICU) because it appears logical that time is critical in septic patients This may have resulted in the implementation of early (goal-directed) treatment as a "standard" in the treatment of sepsis with significant improvement in survival.

journal_name

Crit Care

authors

Westphal M,Kampmeier T

doi

10.1186/cc14729

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2015-01-01 00:00:00

pages

S11

eissn

1364-8535

issn

1466-609X

pii

cc14729

journal_volume

19 Suppl 3

pub_type

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