Compliance with the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines for early resuscitation does not translate into improved outcomes in patients with surgical sepsis in South Africa
Introduction: This project set out to audit our compliance with the 3-hour bundles of care for surgical sepsis and to interrogate how compliance or non-compliance impacts on the outcome of surgical sepsis in our institution.
Methods: All emergency surgical patients over the age of fifteen years were reviewed. All patients who fulfilled the ACCP/SCCM criteria for sepsis or septic shock, with a documented surgical source of infection, were identified for review.
Results: A total of 677 septic patients with a documented surgical source of sepsis were included. Of the 677 patients, 53% (360/677) had intra-abdominal sepsis, 17% (116/677) had diabetic-related limb sepsis and the remaining 30% (201) had soft tissue infections. A total of 585 operative procedures were performed. Compliance with all components of the 3-hour bundle metrics was achieved in 379/677 patients (56%), and not achieved in 298/677 patients (44%). The only significant difference between the compliant and the non-compliant groups was respiratory rate greater than 22 breaths/minute (131 vs 71, p = 0.002) in the compliant cohort. Amongst the compliant cohort 77/379 patients (20%) required admission to ICU, whilst 41/298 patients (14%) in the non-compliant cohort required admission to ICU. This difference was statistically different (p = 0.026). There was no difference in the median length of hospital stay (6 days) between the two groups. Fifty-five patients in the compliant cohort died (15%), whilst 31 (10%) of the patients in the non-compliant cohort died. This difference was not statistically different (p = 0.111).
Conclusion: Compliance with the SCC 3-hour bundle did not seem to improve mortality outcomes in our setting. This observation cannot be adequately explained with our current data and further work looking at management of surgical sepsis in our setting is required. Time to surgical source control is probably the single most important determinant of outcome in patients with surgical sepsis and other aspects of the care bundle are of secondary importance.