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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Randomized Controlled Trial of Ultrasound-guided Fluid Resuscitation of Sepsis-Induced Hypoperfusion and Septic Shock

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Introduction: The ultrasound measurement of inferior vena cava (IVC) diameter change during respiratory phase to guide fluid resuscitation in shock patients is widely performed, but the benefit on reducing the mortality of sepsis patients is questionable. The study objective was to evaluate the 30-day mortality rate of patients with sepsis-induced tissue hypoperfusion (SITH) and septic shock (SS) treated with ultrasound-guided fluid management (UGFM) using ultrasonographic change of the IVC diameter during respiration compared with those treated with the usual-care strategy.

Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial conducted in an urban, university-affiliated tertiary-care hospital. Adult patients with SITH/SS were randomized to receive treatment with UGFM using respiratory change of the IVC (UGFM strategy) or with the usual-care strategy during the first six hours after emergency department (ED) arrival. We compared the 30-day mortality rate and other clinical outcomes between the two groups.

Results: A total of 202 patients were enrolled, 101 in each group (UGFM vs usual-care strategy) for intention-to-treat analysis. There was no significant difference in 30-day overall mortality between the two groups (18.8% and 19.8% in the usual-care and UGFM strategy, respectively; p > 0.05 by log rank test). Neither was there a difference in six-hour lactate clearance, a change in the sequential organ failure assessment score, or length of hospital stay. However, the cumulative fluid amount given in 24 hours was significantly lower in the UGFM arm.

Conclusion: In our ED setting, the use of respiratory change of IVC diameter determined by point-of-care ultrasound to guide initial fluid resuscitation in SITH/SS ED patients did not improve the 30-day survival probability or other clinical parameters compared to the usual-care strategy. However, the IVC ultrasound-guided resuscitation was associated with less amount of fluid used.

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