Results from the National Sepsis Practice Survey: Use of drotrecogin α (activated) and other therapeutic decisions

James M. O'Brien, Scott K. Aberegg, Naeem A. Ali, Gregory B. Diette, Stanley Lemeshow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: We sought to evaluate factors associated with choices about provided care for patients with septic shock, including the use of drotrecogin α (activated) (DAA). Materials and Methods: We administered a mail-based survey to a random sample of intensivists. Study vignettes presented patients with septic shock with identical severity of illness scores but different ages, body mass indices, and comorbidities. Respondents estimated outcomes and selected care beyond standardized initial care (eg, antibiotics) for each hypothetical patient. Results: For most vignettes (99.1%), respondents added care, most commonly low tidal volume ventilation (87.6%) and enteral nutrition (73.3%). Choosing to administer DAA was not associated with predictions about mortality or bleeding. Vignettes with early-stage lung cancer were less likely to receive DAA. Time since medical school graduation was also associated with lower odds of selecting DAA. Most respondents (52.6%) chose identical care for all 4 completed vignettes. Conclusions: There was wide variability in the therapeutic choices of respondents. The use of DAA was not associated with perceived risk of mortality or bleeding, as recommended by consensus guidelines. Physicians appear to base treatment decisions in septic shock on a consistent pattern of practice rather than estimates of patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658.e7-658.e15
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Acute lung injury
  • Drotrecogin α activated
  • Sepsis
  • Septic shock
  • Variation in care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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