BACKGROUND: Early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) is recommended in international guidance for the resuscitation of patients presenting with early septic shock. However, adoption has been limited and uncertainty remains over its clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
OBJECTIVES: The primary objective was to estimate the effect of EGDT compared with usual resuscitation on mortality at 90 days following randomisation and on incremental cost-effectiveness at 1 year. The secondary objectives were to compare EGDT with usual resuscitation for requirement for, and duration of, critical care unit organ support; length of stay in the emergency department (ED), critical care unit and acute hospital; health-related quality of life, resource use and costs at 90 days and at 1 year; all-cause mortality at 28 days, at acute hospital discharge and at 1 year; and estimated lifetime incremental cost-effectiveness.
DESIGN: A pragmatic, open, multicentre, parallel-group randomised controlled trial with an integrated economic evaluation.
SETTING: Fifty-six NHS hospitals in England.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1260 patients who presented at EDs with septic shock.
INTERVENTIONS: EGDT (n = 630) or usual resuscitation (n = 630). Patients were randomly allocated 1 : 1.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: All-cause mortality at 90 days after randomisation and incremental net benefit (at pound20,000 per quality-adjusted life-year) at 1 year.
RESULTS: Following withdrawals, data on 1243 (EGDT, n = 623; usual resuscitation, n = 620) patients were included in the analysis. By 90 days, 184 (29.5%) in the EGDT and 181 (29.2%) patients in the usual-resuscitation group had died [p = 0.90; absolute risk reduction -0.3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) -5.4 to 4.7; relative risk 1.01, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.20]. Treatment intensity was greater for the EGDT group, indicated by the increased use of intravenous fluids, vasoactive drugs and red blood cell transfusions. Increased treatment intensity was reflected by significantly higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores and more advanced cardiovascular support days in critical care for the EGDT group. At 1 year, the incremental net benefit for EGDT versus usual resuscitation was negative at - pound725 (95% CI - pound3000 to pound1550). The probability that EGDT was more cost-effective than usual resuscitation was below 30%. There were no significant differences in any other secondary outcomes, including health-related quality of life, or adverse events.
LIMITATIONS: Recruitment was lower at weekends and out of hours. The intervention could not be blinded.
CONCLUSIONS: There was no significant difference in all-cause mortality at 90 days for EGDT compared with usual resuscitation among adults identified with early septic shock presenting to EDs in England. On average, costs were higher in the EGDT group than in the usual-resuscitation group while quality-adjusted life-years were similar in both groups; the probability that it is cost-effective is < 30%.
FUTURE WORK: The ProMISe (Protocolised Management In Sepsis) trial completes the planned trio of evaluations of EGDT across the USA, Australasia and England; all have indicated that EGDT is not superior to usual resuscitation. Recognising that each of the three individual, large trials has limited power for evaluating potentially important subgroups, the harmonised approach adopted provides the opportunity to conduct an individual patient data meta-analysis, enhancing both knowledge and generalisability.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN36307479.
FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 19, No. 97. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.