Objective: To determine the clinical effectiveness of implementing early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) as a routine protocol in the emergency department (ED).
Methods: Prospective interventional study conducted over 2 years at an urban ED. Inclusion criteria included suspected infection, criteria for systemic inflammation, and either systolic BP < 90 mm Hg after a fluid bolus or lactate concentration >/= 4 mol/L. Exclusion criteria were age < 18 years, contraindication to a chest central venous catheter, and need for immediate surgery. We prospectively recorded preintervention clinical and mortality data on consecutive, eligible patients for 1 year when treatment was at the discretion of board-certified emergency physicians. We then implemented an EGDT protocol (the intervention) and recorded clinical data and mortality rates for 1 year. Prior to the first year, we defined a 33% relative reduction in mortality (relative mortality reduction that was found in the original EGDT trial) to indicate clinical effectiveness of the intervention.
Results: We enrolled 79 patients in the preintervention year and 77 patients in the postintervention year. Compared with the preintervention year, patients in the postintervention year received significantly greater crystalloid volume (2.54 L vs 4.66 L, p < 0.001) and frequency of vasopressor infusion (34% vs 69%, p < 0.001) during the initial resuscitation. In-hospital mortality was 21 of 79 patients (27%) before intervention, compared with 14 of 77 patients (18%) after intervention (absolute difference, - 9%; 95% confidence interval, + 5 to - 21%).
Conclusions: Implementation of EGDT in our ED was associated with a 9% absolute (33% relative) mortality reduction. Our data provide external validation of the clinical effectiveness of EGDT to treat sepsis and septic shock in the ED.