In November 2001, Dr. Manny Rivers and his colleagues published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on Early Goal Directed Therapy in Sepsis. At the time, sepsis was not a new concept, nor was the treatment of it. Where I believe the real genius in EGDT lies is in a fanatical focus on early recognition of sepsis by utilizing SIRS criteria, as well as developing an algorithm with definable objective treatment goals to assist providers in understanding if their treatment selections are in fact working. The basic questions in EGDT therapy are:
- How much fluid is enough?
- Are the vital organs being perfused appropriately?
- Is there adequate oxygen delivery and utilization by those vital organs?
Since Rivers published his article in 2001, it has been met with both acclaim and controversy. EGDT utilizes central venous pressure monitoring, lactate trending, SvO2 monitoring, vasopressor therapy, and sometimes, blood transfusions to optimize resuscitation of the septic patient. I believe the controversy is not in whether or not it works, as multiple studies have demonstrated a reduction in morbidity and mortality. Instead, the controversy lies in what is the best modality to answer the basic questions of sepsis resuscitation, and whether some of the aggressive steps recommended in the initial study are necessary or even practical in many emergency departments across the country. [...]