Early versus delayed administration of norepinephrine in patients with septic shock

Xiaowu Bai, Wenkui Yu, Wu Ji, Zhiliang Lin, Shanjun Tan, Kaipeng Duan, Yi Dong, Lin Xu, Ning Li
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2014 October 3, 18 (5): 532

INTRODUCTION: This study investigated the incidence of delayed norepinephrine administration following the onset of septic shock and its effect on hospital mortality.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from 213 adult septic shock patients treated at two general surgical intensive care units of a tertiary care hospital over a two year period. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality.

RESULTS: The 28-day mortality was 37.6% overall. Among the 213 patients, a strong relationship between delayed initial norepinephrine administration and 28-day mortality was noted. The average time to initial norepinephrine administration was 3.1 ± 2.5 hours. Every 1-hour delay in norepinephrine initiation during the first 6 hours after septic shock onset was associated with a 5.3% increase in mortality. Twenty-eight day mortality rates were significantly higher when norepinephrine administration was started more than or equal to 2 hours after septic shock onset (Late-NE) compared to less than 2 hours (Early-NE). Mean arterial pressures at 1, 2, 4, and 6 hours after septic shock onset were significantly higher and serum lactate levels at 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours were significantly lower in the Early-NE than the Late-NE group. The duration of hypotension and norepinephrine administration was significantly shorter and the quantity of norepinephrine administered in a 24-hour period was significantly less for the Early-NE group compared to the Late-NE group. The time to initial antimicrobial treatment was not significantly different between the Early-NE and Late-NE groups.

CONCLUSION: Our results show that early administration of norepinephrine in septic shock patients is associated with an increased survival rate.

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