The surviving sepsis campaign: Results of an international guideline-based performance improvement program targeting severe sepsis

Mitchell M. Levy, R. Phillip Dellinger, Sean R. Townsend, Walter T. Linde-Zwirble, John C. Marshall, Julian Bion, Christa Schorr, Antonio Artigas, Graham Ramsay, Richard Beale, Margaret M. Parker, Herwig Gerlach, Konrad Reinhart, Eliezer Silva, Maurene Harvey, Susan Regan, Derek C. Angus

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680 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC or "the Campaign") developed guidelines for management of severe sepsis and septic shock. A performance improvement initiative targeted changing clinical behavior (process improvement) via bundles based on key SSC guideline recommendations on process improvement and patient outcomes. Design and setting: A multifaceted intervention to facilitate compliance with selected guideline recommendations in the ICU, ED, and wards of individual hospitals and regional hospital networks was implemented voluntarily in the US, Europe, and South America. Elements of the guidelines were "bundled" into two sets of targets to be completed within 6 h and within 24 h. An analysis was conducted on data submitted from January 2005 through March 2008. Main results: Data from 15,022 subjects at 165 sites were analyzed to determine the compliance with bundle targets and association with hospital mortality. Compliance with the entire resuscitation bundle increased linearly from 10.9% in the first site quarter to 31.3% by the end of 2 years (P < 0.0001). Compliance with the entire management bundle started at 18.4% in the first quarter and increased to 36.1% by the end of 2 years (P = 0.008). Compliance with all bundle elements increased significantly, except for inspiratory plateau pressure, which was high at baseline. Unadjusted hospital mortality decreased from 37 to 30.8% over 2 years (P = 0.001). The adjusted odds ratio for mortality improved the longer a site was in the Campaign, resulting in an adjusted absolute drop of 0.8% per quarter and 5.4% over 2 years (95% CI, 2.5-8.4%). Conclusions: The Campaign was associated with sustained, continuous quality improvement in sepsis care. Although not necessarily cause and effect, a reduction in reported hospital mortality rates was associated with participation. The implications of this study may serve as an impetus for similar improvement efforts. © 2010 Copyright jointly hold by Springer and ESICM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-231
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Knowledge transfer
  • Performance improvement
  • Performance measures
  • Quality improvement
  • Sepsis bundles
  • Septic shock
  • Severe sepsis
  • Surviving sepsis campaign


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