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The sepsis six and the severe sepsis resuscitation bundle: a prospective observational cohort study


Background Severe sepsis is likely to account for around 37 000 deaths annually in the UK. Five years after the international Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) care bundles were published, care standards in the management of patients with severe sepsis are achieved in fewer than one in seven patients.

Methods This was a prospective observational cohort study across a 500-bed acute general hospital, to assess the delivery and impact of two interventions: the SSC resuscitation bundle and a new intervention designed to facilitate delivery, the sepsis six. Process measures included compliance with the bundle and the sepsis six; the outcome measure was mortality at hospital discharge.

Results Data from 567 patients were suitable for analysis. Compliance with the bundle increased from baseline. 84.6% of those receiving the sepsis six (n=220) achieved the resuscitation bundle compared with only 5.8% of others. Delivery of the interventions had an association with reduced mortality: for the sepsis six (n=220), 20.0% compared with 44.1% (p<0.001); for the resuscitation bundle (n=204), 5.9% compared with 51% (p<0.001). Those receiving the sepsis six were much more likely to receive the full bundle. Those seen by the sepsis team had improved compliance with bundles and reduced mortality.

Conclusions This study supports the SSC resuscitation bundle, and is suggestive of an association with reduced mortality although does not demonstrate causation. It demonstrates that simplified pathways, such as the sepsis six, and education programmes such as survive sepsis can contribute to improving the rate of delivery of these life-saving interventions.

  • Emergency departments
  • infection
  • intensive care
  • nursing
  • wounds

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