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Practice Guideline
. 2020 May;46(5):854-887.
doi: 10.1007/s00134-020-06022-5. Epub 2020 Mar 28.

Surviving Sepsis Campaign: Guidelines on the Management of Critically Ill Adults With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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Practice Guideline

Surviving Sepsis Campaign: Guidelines on the Management of Critically Ill Adults With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Waleed Alhazzani et al. Intensive Care Med. .
Free PMC article


Background: The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of a rapidly spreading illness, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), affecting thousands of people around the world. Urgent guidance for clinicians caring for the sickest of these patients is needed.

Methods: We formed a panel of 36 experts from 12 countries. All panel members completed the World Health Organization conflict of interest disclosure form. The panel proposed 53 questions that are relevant to the management of COVID-19 in the ICU. We searched the literature for direct and indirect evidence on the management of COVID-19 in critically ill patients in the ICU. We identified relevant and recent systematic reviews on most questions relating to supportive care. We assessed the certainty in the evidence using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach, then generated recommendations based on the balance between benefit and harm, resource and cost implications, equity, and feasibility. Recommendations were either strong or weak, or in the form of best practice recommendations.

Results: The Surviving Sepsis Campaign COVID-19 panel issued 54 statements, of which 4 are best practice statements, 9 are strong recommendations, and 35 are weak recommendations. No recommendation was provided for 6 questions. The topics were: (1) infection control, (2) laboratory diagnosis and specimens, (3) hemodynamic support, (4) ventilatory support, and (5) COVID-19 therapy.

Conclusion: The Surviving Sepsis Campaign COVID-19 panel issued several recommendations to help support healthcare workers caring for critically ill ICU patients with COVID-19. When available, we will provide new recommendations in further releases of these guidelines.

Keywords: COVID-19; Clinical practice guidelines; Coronavirus; Critical illness; SARS CoV-2.

Conflict of interest statement

Dr. Yaseen Arabi is the principal investigator on a clinical trial for lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon in Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and he was a nonpaid consultant on antiviral active for MERS-coronavirus (CoV) for Gilead Sciences and SAB Biotherapeutics. He is an investigator on REMAP-CAP trial and is a Board Members of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC). Dr. Eddy Fan declared receiving consultancy fees from ALung Technologies and MC3 Cardiopulmonary. Dr. Maurizio Cecconi declared consultancy work with Edwards Lifesciences, Directed Systems, and Cheetah Medical. Dr. Lennie Derde is the NVIC (Dutch National ICU society) chair of Taskforce Infectious Diseases (standing committee), member of ESICM Coronavirus Taskforce (started with this outbreak), chair ESICM Clinical Training Committee, all are unpaid positions. Dr. Frederick Hyden is non-compensated consultant to Gilead Sciences (antivirals for RVIS including remdesivir), Regeneraon (monoclonals for RVIs including MERS), and SAB Biotherapeutics (polyclonal antibodies for RVIs including MERS). Other authors declared no conflict of interest.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
COVID-19 guideline development process
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Summary of recommendations on the initial management of hypoxic COVID-19 patients
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Summary of recommendations on the management of patients with COVID-19 and ARDS

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