Severe sepsis in the emergency department - an observational cohort study from the university hospital of the West Indies

R Edwards, R Hutson, J Johnson, R Sherwin, G Gordon-Strachan, M Frankson, P Levy
West Indian Medical Journal 2013, 62 (3): 224-9

OBJECTIVE: To describe the incidence, treatment and outcomes of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock in a setting where early goal directed therapy (EGDT) is not routinely performed.

METHOD: An observational study of all adult patients admitted from the emergency department (ED) of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) with a diagnosis of severe sepsis and septic shock from July 5, 2007 to September 1, 2008 was conducted. Baseline parameters, treatment patterns and in-hospital outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS: A total of 58 011 patients were seen and 762 (1.3%) had sepsis, 117 (15.4%) of whom were classified as severe sepsis or septic shock. Mean (SD) age was 59.2 (23.3) years and 49% were female. Medical history included hypertension (29%), diabetes mellitus (26%), stroke (8%), heart failure (6%) and HIV (6%). The most common sources of sepsis were pneumonia (67%) and urinary tract infection (46%). Median, interquartile range (IQR) time from triage to antibiotic administration was 126 (88, 220) minutes and antibiotics were given to 65.7% within three hours. Overall, organisms were sensitive to empirical antibiotics in 69%. Median (IQR) lactate was 5.3 (4.5, 7.5) mmol/L. Most patients (95%) were admitted to the ward; 1% went to the intensive care unit (ICU) and 2% died in the ED. Mean (SD) length of hospital stay was 9.5 (10.3) days. In-hospital mortality was 25% and survival correlated inversely with age (rpb = -0.25; p = 0.006).

CONCLUSION: Despite a lack of EGDT, sepsis treatment patterns were consistent with "best-practice" and mortality was lower than international comparators.

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