Young patient, lactate of 5.2, pneumonia… You know what you're supposed to do–put in the central line and start early goal directed therapy. Problem is, most people can't see sticking a central line in a patient that does not need pressors and otherwise looks well. Yet these patient have an annoying habit of going on to decompensate and perish. Well now there may be another way. Thanks to an article just published in JAMA, we may have a path to non-invasive treatment of severe sepsis. In this EMCrit Podcast, I interview Dr. Alan E. Jones, author of the article, Lactate clearance vs central venous oxygen saturation as goals of early sepsis therapy: a randomized clinical trial. Then I discuss how this article changes the game when it comes to caring for severe sepsis patients.
First, here is the article:
Dr. Alan Jones was the lead author. He and his co-authors from the EMShockNet, designed a 300-patient randomized, controlled trial in 3 academic emergency departments. Patients were adults with essentially the same entry criteria as the original EGDT study. Both groups received the EGDT protocol except one group got continuous ScvO2 monitoring while the other group got serial lactates. Either serial normal lactates (<2 mmol/L) or a decrease in lactate of greater than or equal to 10% was considered equivalent to an ScvO2 > 70. Lactates that were rising or had cleared < 10% were considered equivalent to ScvO2 < 70. Mortality trended towards a higher rate in the ScvO2 group, but by the predetermined trial parameters, both arms were considered equivalent.
I got a chance to interview Dr. Jones and we talked about the following points:
- Though the trial did not specifically test this strategy, the purpose of the study was to find a path to non-invasive care of severe sepsis.
- Only 10% of the patients in either arm required blood transfusions or inotropes
- In young patients, in certain clinical scenarios, we might move to inotropes before blood, in the Hb 7-10 range.
In addition, Dr. Jones mentioned that in an upcoming preplanned sub-analysis we'll actually get to see if the lactate clearance values and ScvO2 correlated.
I then go on to discuss how this article allows a non-invasive path to managing the young pt with severe sepsis. Let's say we have that young pneumonia patient with a lactate of 5.2
- First, give 2L of the crystalloid of your choice
- Make sure that the SaO2 is > 90%
- Then check the IVC non-invasively with ultrasound.
- IVC < 1.5 cm and has a > 50% collapse with deep inhalation, give more fluid.
- IVC > 1.5 cm and very little collapse, move on
- Confirm that the MAP is still >65, if not then place a central line and do standard EGDT
- Check a repeat lactate. If it cleared ? 10%, then you're done
- If it hasn't transfuse if Hb < 7.
- Give inotropes if Hb > 10 or signs of poor heart function on echo
- Hb 7-10, use your judgment
- Keep trending the lactate