Echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) is being used more often in the critical care setting
for management of severe infection (septic shock). Early studies show echocardiography to be
useful in these patients, but at this time, there are no good clinical trials to justify its
Our study goals/objectives are as follows:
1. To conduct an unblinded, two-group randomized controlled clinical trial to compare an
echocardiography-guided resuscitation protocol with an Early Goal Directed Therapy
(EGDT) protocol in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.
2. Demonstrate that a sepsis treatment protocol using transthoracic echocardiography and
other non-invasive assessments of cardiac output will result in more rapid resolution
of septic shock compared to invasive EGDT.
3. Demonstrate patients receiving the non-invasive echocardiography protocol will receive
less administration of intravenous fluid.
- At least 18 years of age
- Suspected infection
- Two or more systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria
- White blood cell count less than 4,000 per mm3, greater than 12,000 per mm3, or
differential with greater than 10% immature forms
- Heart rate greater than 90 beats per minute
- Respiratory rate greater than 20 breaths per minute or paCO2 less than 32 mmHg
- Temperature less than 36°C or greater than 38°C
- Evidence of refractory hypoperfusion attributed to sepsis (one or more of the
- Systolic blood pressure less than 90 mmHg despite an intravenous fluid challenge
of at least 30ml/kg (a portion of this may be albumin equivalent)
- Blood lactate level at least 4 mmol/L.
- Intention to place an arterial catheter.
- Intention to place a central venous catheter.
- Known pregnancy
- Requirement for immediate surgery
- Hypotension attributed to alternative cause
- Treating physician deems the patient is moribund
- Treating physician deems aggressive care is unsuitable
- Contraindication to central venous catheterization or arterial catheterization
- Advanced directives restricting implementation of the protocol
- Significant pathology of the chest or abdominal wall that would make transthoracic
echocardiography impossible (burns, chest trauma, etc.)
- Children under the age of 18 will not be included in this study