HM18

New developments in critical care and sepsis


 

Sepsis and critical care issues are in the spotlight at HM18, and these hot topics were the focus of the Monday education session, “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named: Updates in Sepsis and Critical Care.”

Patricia Kritek, MD, EdM, of the University of Washington, Seattle, led an interactive and engaging session, educating attendees about the current research in sepsis and critical care areas so they would feel comfortable implementing the latest evidence into practice in the ICU.

The session focused on “what’s new” in critical care and sepsis from the literature published in the past year.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sepsis or septicemia patients averaged a 75% longer length of stay and were more than eight times likely to die, compared with patients hospitalized for other conditions.

“There has been a lot of discussion about steroids in sepsis that is potentially practice changing,” Dr. Kritek said in an interview. To tackle the always-tricky topic of steroids and sepsis, Dr. Kritek selected a trio of studies for review and discussion. In the first, vitamin C was potentially as effective as hydrocortisone and thiamine for the treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock (CHEST. 2017;151[6]:1229‐38). Another study addressed adjunctive glucocorticoid therapy for septic shock patients, and a third examined the use of hydrocortisone plus fludrocortisone for adults with septic shock.

The trials not involving vitamin C were published in the New England Journal of Medicine this year, conducted in Australia (2018;378:797‐808) and France (2018;378:809‐18), and included 3,658 and 1,241 adult sepsis patients, respectively. The studies were similar in size and design. Based on these two studies, hydrocortisone appears to shorten septic shock duration, and treatment with hydrocortisone and possibly fludrocortisone could be helpful for the more seriously ill patients, said Dr. Kritek. As for the value of vitamin C and thiamine, “the jury is still out,” she noted.

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