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The objective of this study was to assess the impact on outcome of adjuvant therapy (high-dose of immunoglobulin [Ig] M-enriched intravenous Ig, IVIG) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients who underwent surgery by abdominal sepsis. This was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled study set in the medical/surgical ICUs of seven teaching hospitals. Patients with severe sepsis and septic shock of intra-abdominal origin admitted to the ICU within 24 h after the onset of symptoms were included in the study. Polyvalent IgM-enriched Ig (Pentaglobin®; IVIG group) at a dosage of 7 mL/kg/day for 5 days or an equal amount of 5% human albumin (control group) was randomized. Fifty-six patients were enrolled. The overall mortality rate was 37.5.%. Twenty patients had shock and 36 had severe sepsis (the mortality rate was 55.0% and 25.0%, respectively). In the intent-to-treat analysis, the mortality rate was reduced from 48.1% in patients treated with antibiotic (ATB) plus albumin to 27.5% (P = 0.06) for patients with ATB plus IVIG. The organ failure score (1.0 ± 0.6 vs. 1.2 ± 0.9), organ dysfunction score (1.7 ± 1.1 vs. 1.8 ± 1.0), and reoperation rate (17.2% vs. 29.6%) were not different between IVIG and control groups, respectively. Eight patients (14.3%) received inappropriate ATB initial therapy (IAT), and seven died (87.5%). IAT was the only variable independently associated with death (odds ratio, 19.4) in a logistic regression model. We conclude that IVIG administration, when used in combination with adequate antibiotics, improved the survival of surgical ICU patients with intra-abdominal sepsis. The initial choice of antibiotic has a dramatic impact on outcome.