Purpose: To evaluate the association between concomitant arginine-vasopressin (AVP)/hydrocortisone therapy and mortality in severe septic shock patients.
Methods: This retrospective study included severe septic shock patients treated with supplementary AVP. To test the association between concomitant AVP/hydrocortisone use and mortality, a multivariate regression and Cox model (adjusted for admission year, initial AVP dosage and the Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score before AVP) as well as a propensity score-based analysis were used. In both models, intensive care unit (ICU) and 28-day mortality served as outcome variables.
Results: One hundred fifty-nine patients were included. Hydrocortisone was administered to 76 (47.8%) at a median daily dosage of 300 (200-300) mg. In the multivariate logistic regression model, concomitant use of AVP and hydrocortisone was associated with a trend towards lower ICU (OR, 0.51; CI 95%, 0.24-1.08; p = 0.08) and 28-day (HR, 0.69; CI 95%, 0.43-1.08; p = 0.11) mortality. The probability of survival at day 28, as predicted by the regression model, was significantly higher in patients treated with concomitant AVP and hydrocortisone compared to those receiving AVP without hydrocortisone (p = 0.001). In a propensity score-based analysis, ICU (45 vs. 65%; OR, 0.69; CI 95% 0.38-1.26; p = 0.23) and 28-day mortality (35.5 vs. 55%; OR, 0.59; CI 95%, 0.27-1.29; p = 0.18) was not different between patients treated with (n = 40) or without concomitant hydrocortisone (n = 40).
Conclusion: Concomitant AVP and hydrocortisone therapy may be associated with a survival benefit in septic shock. An adequately powered, randomised controlled trial appears warranted to confirm these preliminary, hypothesis-generating results.