Sepsis is a frequent complication of critically ill patients and its incidence is increasing. Currently, septic shock is the most common cause of death in non-coronary intensive care units. Over the last 10 to 15 years, new antibiotics and increasingly sophisticated critical care have had little impact on the mortality rate of septic shock. The Italian SESPIS Study, carried out in 99 intensive care units in 1994, reported mortality rates of 52% and 82% for severe sepsis and septic shock respectively. New therapeutic approaches aimed at neutralizing microbial toxins and modulating host mediators have shown some efficacy in large clinical trials and/or in animal models, but to date, no therapy of sepsis aimed at reversing the effects of bacterial toxins or of harmful endogenous mediators of inflammation has gained widespread clinical acceptance. Because of the strong association of severe sepsis with a state of activation of blood coagulation and the potential role of capillary thrombosis in the development of the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, anticoagulant agents have been tested in the setting of septic shock. However, neither administration of heparin nor of active site-blocked factor Xa or of anti-tissue factor antibodies has proven effective in preventing deaths due to septic shock in animal models. In contrast, infusion of antithrombin, protein C, or tissue factor pathway inhibitor all resulted in a significant survival advantage in animals receiving lethal doses of E. Coli. Antithrombin concentrates have been used in a significant number of critically ill patients. A double-blind, placebo controlled study carried out in 3 italian intensive care units has recently shown that the administration of antithrombin aimed at normalizing plasma antithrombin activity had a net beneficial effect on 30-day survival of patients requiring respiratory and/or hemodynamic support because of severe sepsis and/or post-surgery complications.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|
- Antithrombin replacement therapy
- Diffuse intravascular fibrin formation
- Protein C
- Septic shock
ASJC Scopus subject areas