Hypothermia in the sepsis syndrome and clinical outcome


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo evaluate the consequences of clinical hypothermia associated with sepsis syndrome and septic shock.DesignAnalysis of data from a multi-institutional, randomized, placebo-controlled, prospective study with predetermined end-point analysis of development of shock, recovery from shock, hospital length of stay, and death.SettingMulti-institutional medical and surgical ICUs.PatientsPatients meeting predetermined criteria for severe sepsis syndrome.InterventionsAppropriate sepsis and shock care with 50% of patients receiving methylprednisolone and 50% receiving placebo.Measurements and Main ResultsThe occurrence rate of hypothermia (<35.5°C) is 9% in this population. When compared with febrile patients, hypothermic patients had a higher frequency of central nervous system dysfunction (88% vs. 60%), increased serum bilirubin concentration (35% vs. 15%), prolonged prothrombin times (50% vs. 23%), shock (94% vs. 61%), failure to recover from shock (66% vs. 26%), and death (62% vs. 26%). The hypothermic patients were also more likely to be classified as having a rapidly or ultimately fatal disease upon study admission.ConclusionsThis prospective study confirms that hypothermia associated with sepsis syndrome has a significant relationship to outcome manifest by increased frequency of shock and death from shock. This finding is in sharp contrast to the protective effects of induced hypothermia in septic animals and perhaps man.

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