Objective: Guidelines for the adrenergic support of septic shock are controversial. In patients with community-acquired septic shock, we assessed the impact of the choice of vasopressor support on mortality.
Design: Cohort, multiple center, observational study.
Setting: Seventeen Portuguese intensive care units (ICUs).
Patients: All adult patients admitted to a participating ICU between December 2004 and November 2005.
Measurements and Main Results: Patients were followed up during the first five ICU days, the day of discharge or death, and hospital outcome. Eight hundred ninety-seven consecutive patients with community-acquired sepsis (median age, 63 years; 577 men; and hospital mortality, 38%) were studied. Of the 458 patients with septic shock, 73% received norepinephrine and 50.5% dopamine. The norepinephrine group had a higher hospital mortality (52% vs. 38.5%, p = 0.002). A Kaplan–Meier survival curve showed diminished 28-day survival in the norepinephrine group (log-rank = 22.6, p < 0.001). A Cox proportional hazard analysis revealed that the administration of norepinephrine was associated with an increased risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.501; 95% confidence interval, 1.413–4.425; p = 0.002). In a multivariate analysis with ICU mortality as the dependent factor, Simplified Acute Physiology Score II and norepinephrine administration were independent risk factors for ICU mortality in patients with septic shock.
Conclusions: In patients with community-acquired septic shock, our data suggest that norepinephrine administration could be associated with worse outcome.