Management of septic shock with a norepinephrine-based haemodynamic algorithm

Glenn Hernandez, Alejandro Bruhn, Carlos Romero, Francisco Javier Larrondo, Rene De La Fuente, Luis Castillo, Guillermo Bugedo
Resuscitation 2005, 66 (1): 63-9

UNLABELLED: Management of septic shock (SS) with a norepinephrine (noradrenaline)-based haemodynamic algorithm.

INTRODUCTION: The choice of the best vasopressor for haemodynamic management of septic shock is controversial. Nevertheless, very few studies have been focused on evaluating different management algorithms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of a norepinephrine (NE)-based management protocol. Experience with NE as the initial vasopressor, even if not comparative, could bring relevant data for planning future trails. We also wanted to evaluate the compliance of critical care physicians and nurses with haemodynamic management protocol.

PATIENTS AND METHOD: A norepinephrine-based algorithm for the management of septic shock that commands different sequential interventions according to its requirements, was applied prospectively to 100 consecutive septic shock patients.

RESULTS: Norepinephrine was used as the first vasoactive drug in all patients with a maximum dose of 0.31+/-0.3 microg kg(-1)min(-1) and an ICU mortality of 33%. Physicians applied correctly all the steps of the algorithm in 92% of the patients. Applying the algorithm, avoided the use of pulmonary artery catheter in 31 patients and led to use of lower doses of vasoactive agents than in many other clinical experiences.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our data support extended use of an algorithm based on norepinephrine for treating septic shock patients. This is the first clinical study that uses NE as the initial vasopressor drug systematically, and although not comparative, the mortality rates adjusted to APACHE II, are comparable to other studies. It also gives support for future clinical trials comparing norepinephrine with dopamine in this setting.

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