Tight glycemic control may favor fibrinolysis in patients with sepsis

Monica Savioli, Massimo Cugno, Federico Polli, Paolo Taccone, Giacomo Bellani, Paolo Spanu, Antonio Pesenti, Gaetano Iapichino, Luciano Gattinoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE:: To investigate whether tight glycemic control, in patients with sepsis, may restore a normal fibrinolysis by lowering plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 levels. DESIGN:: Prospective randomized clinical trial. SETTING:: Three Italian university hospital intensive care units. PATIENTS:: Ninety patients with severe sepsis/septic shock. INTERVENTIONS:: Patients were randomized to receive either tight glycemic control (treatment group, target glycemia, 80-110 mg/dL) or conventional glycemic control (control group, target glycemia, 180-200 mg/dL). MEASUREMENTS:: Inflammation, coagulation, and fibrinolysis markers were assessed, along with Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment scores, >28 days. MAIN RESULTS:: In the whole population, at enrolment, inflammation and coagulation were activated in >80 of 90 patients, whereas fibrinolysis, as assessed by PAI-1 activity and concentration, was impaired in only 34 patients. The extent of the inflammatory reaction or of the coagulation activation was unrelated to outcome. In contrast, 90-day mortality rate of the 34 patients in whom fibrinolysis was definitely inhibited at study entry was twice that of the 56 patients in whom fibrinolysis was intact (44% vs. 21%, p = 0.02). After randomization, during the study, daily glycemia averaged 112 ± 23 mg/dL in the treatment group and 159 ± 31 mg/dL in controls (p <0.001), with total daily administered insulin 57 ± 59 IU and 36 ± 44 IU, respectively (p <0.001). A small, but significant, enhancement of fibrinolysis could be observed in the treatment group, as indicated by the time course of PAI-1 activity (p <0.001), PAI-1 concentration (p = 0.004), and plasmin-antiplasmin complexes (p <0.001). Morbidity, rated with the Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score, became significantly lower (p = 0.03) in the treatment group. CONCLUSIONS:: Fibrinolysis inhibition, in severe sepsis/septic shock, seems to have a relevant pathogenetic role. In this context, tight glycemic control seems to reduce, with time, the fibrinolytic impairment and morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-431
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • blood glucose
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1
  • Sepsis
  • Septic
  • Shock
  • Tight glucose control 424 Crit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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