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Objective: To assess the impact of an algorithm defining resuscitation according to early goal-directed therapy, glycemic control, administration of stress doses of hydrocortisone, and use of recombinant human activated protein C (rhAPC) on measures of organ dysfunction and outcome in septic shock.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Multidisciplinary ten-bed intensive care unit of a university hospital.

Patients: Sixty patients were analyzed: 30 consecutive patients fulfilling criteria for diagnosis of septic shock, treated from September 2002 until December 2003 after implementation of a standard operating procedure (SOP) for severe sepsis and septic shock; and 30 patients with septic shock treated from January until August 2002 in the same unit, who served as controls.

Measurements and Results: Data for blood gas analysis, lactate, glucose, serum creatinine, bilirubin, white blood cells, platelets, and C-reactive protein were obtained from patient files on admission or at time of diagnosis of septic shock and at 7:00 a.m. on days 2 and 4; Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores were calculated and 28-day survival was assessed. With implementation of the SOP, use of dobutamine (12/30 vs. 2/30), insulin (blood glucose <150 mg/dL, day 4: 26/28 vs. 13/25), hydrocortisone (30/30 vs. 13/30), and rhAPC (7/30 vs. 0/30) significantly increased, whereas volume for resuscitation and use of packed red blood cells were unaffected. Mortality was 53% in the historical control group and 27% after implementation of the SOP (p < .05).

Conclusion: The combined approach of early goal-directed therapy, intensive insulin therapy, hydrocortisone administration, and additional application of rhAPC in selected cases seems to favorably influence outcome. The implementation of a "sepsis bundle" can be facilitated by a standardized protocol while significantly reducing the time until the defined therapeutic measures are realized in daily practice.

(C) 2006 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins