Does a resuscitation protocol with administration of intravenous fluids, vasopressors, and blood transfusion implemented early after presentation to the emergency department improve in-hospital mortality among Zambian adults with sepsis and hypotension compared with usual care?
In this randomized clinical trial that included 209 adults with sepsis and hypotension presenting to an emergency department in Zambia, a 6-hour sepsis protocol emphasizing administration of intravenous fluids, vasopressors, and blood transfusion significantly increased in-hospital mortality compared with usual care (48.1% vs 33.0%, respectively).
In resource-limited settings, an early resuscitation protocol with administration of intravenous fluids, vasopressors, and blood transfusion for adults with sepsis may increase mortality compared with usual care.
The effect of an early resuscitation protocol on sepsis outcomes in developing countries remains unknown.
To determine whether an early resuscitation protocol with administration of intravenous fluids, vasopressors, and blood transfusion decreases mortality among Zambian adults with sepsis and hypotension compared with usual care.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Randomized clinical trial of 212 adults with sepsis (suspected infection plus ≥2 systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria) and hypotension (systolic blood pressure ≤90 mm Hg or mean arterial pressure ≤65 mm Hg) presenting to the emergency department at a 1500-bed referral hospital in Zambia between October 22, 2012, and November 11, 2013. Data collection concluded December 9, 2013.
Patients were randomized 1:1 to either (1) an early resuscitation protocol for sepsis (n = 107) that included intravenous fluid bolus administration with monitoring of jugular venous pressure, respiratory rate, and arterial oxygen saturation and treatment with vasopressors targeting mean arterial pressure (≥65 mm Hg) and blood transfusion (for patients with a hemoglobin level <7 g/dL) or (2) usual care (n = 105) in which treating clinicians determined hemodynamic management.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality and the secondary outcomes included the volume of intravenous fluid received and receipt of vasopressors.
Among 212 patients randomized to receive either the sepsis protocol or usual care, 3 were ineligible and the remaining 209 completed the study and were included in the analysis (mean [SD] age, 36.7 [12.4] years; 117 men [56.0%]; 187 [89.5%] positive for the human immunodeficiency virus). The primary outcome of in-hospital mortality occurred in 51 of 106 patients (48.1%) in the sepsis protocol group compared with 34 of 103 patients (33.0%) in the usual care group (between-group difference, 15.1% [95% CI, 2.0%-28.3%]; relative risk, 1.46 [95% CI, 1.04-2.05]; P = .03). In the 6 hours after presentation to the emergency department, patients in the sepsis protocol group received a median of 3.5 L (interquartile range, 2.7-4.0 L) of intravenous fluid compared with 2.0 L (interquartile range, 1.0-2.5 L) in the usual care group (mean difference, 1.2 L [95% CI, 1.0-1.5 L]; P < .001). Fifteen patients (14.2%) in the sepsis protocol group and 2 patients (1.9%) in the usual care group received vasopressors (between-group difference, 12.3% [95% CI, 5.1%-19.4%]; P < .001).
Conclusions and Relevance
Among adults with sepsis and hypotension, most of whom were positive for HIV, in a resource-limited setting, a protocol for early resuscitation with administration of intravenous fluids and vasopressors increased in-hospital mortality compared with usual care. Further studies are needed to understand the effects of administration of intravenous fluid boluses and vasopressors in patients with sepsis across different low- and middle-income clinical settings and patient populations.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01663701
Andrews B, Semler MW, Muchemwa L, Kelly P, Lakhi S, Heimburger DC, Mabula C, Bwalya M, Bernard GR. Effect of an Early Resuscitation Protocol on In-hospital Mortality Among Adults With Sepsis and HypotensionA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2017;318(13):1233–1240. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.10913
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