Effect of performance improvement programs on compliance with sepsis bundles and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

PLoS One. 2015 May 6;10(5):e0125827. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125827. eCollection 2015.


Background: Several reports suggest that implementation of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines is associated with mortality reduction in sepsis. However, adherence to the guideline-based resuscitation and management sepsis bundles is still poor.

Objective: To perform a systematic review of studies evaluating the impact of performance improvement programs on compliance with Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guideline-based bundles and/or mortality.

Data sources: Medline (PubMed), Scopus and Intercollegiate Studies Institute Web of Knowledge databases from 2004 (first publication of the SSC guidelines) to October 2014.

Study selection: Studies on adult patients with sepsis, severe sepsis or septic shock that evaluated changes in compliance to individual/combined bundle targets and/or mortality following the implementation of performance improvement programs. Interventions may consist of educational programs, process changes or both.

Data extraction: Data from the included studies were extracted independently by two authors. Unadjusted binary data were collected in order to calculate odds ratios (OR) for compliance to individual/combined bundle targets. Adjusted (if available) or unadjusted data of mortality were collected. Random-effects models were used for the data synthesis.

Results: Fifty observational studies were selected. Despite high inconsistency across studies, performance improvement programs were associated with increased compliance with the complete 6-hour bundle (OR = 4.12 [95% confidence interval 2.95-5.76], I(2) = 87.72%, k = 25, N = 50,081) and the complete 24-hour bundle (OR = 2.57 [1.74-3.77], I(2) = 85.22%, k = 11, N = 45,846) and with a reduction in mortality (OR = 0.66 [0.61-0.72], I(2) = 87.93%, k = 48, N = 434,447). Funnel plots showed asymmetry.

Conclusions: Performance improvement programs are associated with increased adherence to resuscitation and management sepsis bundles and with reduced mortality in patients with sepsis, severe sepsis or septic shock.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Resuscitation / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sepsis / mortality*
  • Sepsis / therapy
  • Shock, Septic / mortality*
  • Shock, Septic / therapy

Grants and funding

The authors have no support or funding to report.