Objective: To determine whether changes in coagulation biomarkers during the first day of severe sepsis correlate with progression from single to multiple organ failure and subsequent death.
Design: Analysis of secondary endpoints in a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, multinational clinical trial (PROWESS).
Setting: The study involved 164 medical centers.
Patients: A total of 840 patients who met criteria for severe sepsis and were randomized to receive placebo plus supportive care.
Measurements and main results: Coagulation biomarkers, prothrombin time, antithrombin activity, and D-dimer and protein C levels were measured, and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment was performed daily. Multiple logistic regression analysis identified baseline antithrombin activity <54% and changes in prothrombin time, D-dimer, and antithrombin activity during the first calendar day after the onset of the first sepsis-induced organ dysfunction (i.e., the first day of severe sepsis, day 1) as predictive of 28-day mortality (p < or = .01). A composite coagulopathy score was determined using points for predetermined levels of change from baseline to day 1. The composite coagulopathy score correlated with progression from single to multiple organ failure (p = .0007), time to resolution of organ failure (p = .0004), and 28-day mortality (p < .0001). Combining the composite coagulopathy score with the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score improved ability to identify patients who would progress to multiple organ failure (area under receiver operating characteristic curve 0.61 APACHE II vs. 0.65 APACHE II + composite coagulopathy score) and who would die (area under receiver operating characteristic curve 0.69 APACHE II vs. 0.74 APACHE II + composite coagulopathy score).
Conclusions: Continuation or worsening of coagulopathy during the first day of severe sepsis was associated with increased development of new organ failure and 28-day mortality. These results further suggest that coagulation abnormalities contribute to organ failure and death.