Long-Term Courses of Sepsis Survivors: Effects of a Primary Care Management Intervention

Am J Med. 2020 Mar;133(3):381-385.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.08.033. Epub 2019 Sep 13.


Background: Sepsis survivors face mental and physical sequelae even years after discharge from the intensive care unit. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term courses of sepsis survivors and the effects of a primary care management intervention in sepsis aftercare.

Methods: This study presents a 24-month follow-up of a randomized controlled trial that recruited 291 patients who survived sepsis (including septic shock) from nine German intensive care units. Participants were randomized to usual care (n=143) or to a 12-month-intervention (n=148). The intervention included training of patients and their primary care physicians (PCP) in evidence-based post-sepsis care, case management provided by trained nurses, and clinical decision support for PCPs by consulting physicians. Usual care was provided by PCPs in the control group. At the 24-month follow-up, 12 months after the 1-year-intervention, survival and measures of mental and physical health were collected by telephone interviews.

Results: One hundred eighty-six (63.9%, 98 intervention, 88 control) of 291 patients completed the 24-month follow-up, showing both increased mortality and recovery from functional impairment. Unlike the intervention group, the control group showed a significant increase of posttraumatic stress symptoms according to the Posttraumatic Symptom Scale (difference between baseline and 24-months follow-up values, mean [standard deviation] 3.7 [11.8] control vs -0.7 [12.1] intervention; P = .016). There were no significant differences in all other outcomes between the intervention and control groups.

Conclusions: Twelve months after completion, a primary care management intervention among survivors of sepsis did not improve mental health-related quality of life. Patients in the intervention group showed less posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Sepsis / rehabilitation*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control