HM20 Virtual

Sepsis: Vitamin C, thiamine, glucocorticoids remain controversial


Sepsis is the number one killer in U.S. hospitals. About one in three patient deaths in a hospital are attributable to sepsis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it is the leading cause of readmission for U.S. hospitals as well.

Dr. Patricia Kritek  of the University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Patricia Kritek

Patricia Kritek MD, EdM, of the division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle, hopes to bring attendees up to speed on sepsis with her presentation, “Put SIRS on the SOFA and Let’s get Septic! Update in Sepsis” at HM20 Virtual.

Each year, approximately 1.7 million American adults develop sepsis, and nearly 270,000 Americans will die from sepsis annually. Although sepsis disproportionately affects young children, older adults, patients with chronic diseases, and those with a weak immune system, the disease can affect anyone.

With that reputation, sepsis is on the forefront of hospitalists’ minds. Hospitalists are traditionally well versed in current sepsis guidelines, but time to treatment is paramount, and it can be difficult to stay up to date on the latest studies in the field. In addition, some newer, controversial treatments have emerged recently, and there is currently a debate regarding the efficacy of these treatments in the care of patients with sepsis.

The title of Dr. Kritek’s presentation hints at the theme: Hospitalists may have learned the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria for diagnosing sepsis, but the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) Score developed by the Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock – previously known as the sepsis-related organ failure assessment score – has been the new method since 2016 to assess the clinical outcomes of patients with sepsis.

The quick SOFA score (qSOFA), developed by the Society of Critical Care and European Society of Intensive Care Medicine in 2016 guidelines, further helps hospitalists and other hospital physicians identify those patients at highest risk of mortality from sepsis outside an intensive care unit setting.

Dr. Kritek, who is a board-certified critical care medicine physician, has previously presented this talk at the Society for Hospital Medicine Annual Conference in the past. This year the presentation will include a number of studies that examine what role vitamin C, thiamine, and glucocorticoids have in treating patients with sepsis, she said. For example, it is thought that parenteral administration of vitamin C could raise plasma levels and reduce multiorgan failure. Thiamine could be useful in sepsis treatment because of its role in glucose metabolism and lactate production, while glucocorticoids could help improve the mortality rate of patients with sepsis.

While Dr. Kritek said she is not going to be advocating for the benefit of vitamin C and thiamine during the session, “this is an area of ongoing debate, and we will walk through the most recent data to try to make sense of it,” she said.

Dr. Kritek noted that the role of balanced crystalloids in resuscitation will be discussed versus when to use saline, as well as the potential of new vasopressors for the treatment of septic shock.

“Our goal will be to integrate the most recent literature into day-to-day practice,” Dr. Kritek said.Dr. Kritek reports no conflicts of interest.

“Put SIRS on the SOFA and Let’s get Septic! Update in Sepsis”

Recommended Reading

Even a few days of steroids may be risky, new study suggests
The Hospitalist
Risky business: Longer-course prophylactic perioperative antimicrobials
The Hospitalist
Children rarely transmit SARS-CoV-2 within households
The Hospitalist
Hyperglycemia predicts COVID-19 death even without diabetes
The Hospitalist
Hep C sofosbuvir/daclatasvir combo promising for COVID-19
The Hospitalist
Wave, surge, or tsunami
The Hospitalist
COVID-19 symptoms can linger for months
The Hospitalist
Proton pump inhibitors tied to COVID-19 risk
The Hospitalist
Why doctors keep monitoring kids who recover from mysterious COVID-linked illness
The Hospitalist
Schools can reopen safely with precautions, experts say
The Hospitalist
   Comments ()