Early fluid bolus in adults with sepsis in the emergency department: a systematic review, meta-analysis and narrative synthesis

BACKGROUND Early intravenous fluids for patients with sepsis presenting with hypoperfusion or shock in the emergency department remains one of the key recommendations of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines to reduce mortality. However, compliance with the recommendation remains poor. While several interventions have been implemented to improve early fluid administration as part of sepsis protocols, the extent to which they have improved compliance with fluid resuscitation is unknown. The factors associated with the lack of compliance are also poorly understood.
METHODS We conducted a systematic review, meta-analysis and narrative review to investigate the effectiveness of interventions in emergency departments in improving compliance with early fluid administration and examine the non-interventional facilitators and barriers that may influence appropriate fluid administration in adults with sepsis. We searched MEDLINE Ovid/PubMed, Ovid EMBASE, CINAHL, and SCOPUS databases for studies of any design to April 2021. We synthesised results from the studies reporting effectiveness of interventions in a meta-analysis and conducted a narrative synthesis of studies reporting non-interventional factors.
RESULTS We included 31 studies out of the 825 unique articles identified in the systematic review of which 21 were included in the meta-analysis and 11 in the narrative synthesis. In meta-analysis, interventions were associated with a 47% improvement in the rate of compliance [(Random Effects (RE) Relative Risk (RR) = 1.47, 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 1.25-1.74, p-value CONCLUSION Performance improvement interventions improve compliance and time and volume of fluids administered to patients with sepsis in the emergency department. While patient-related factors such as advanced age, co-morbidities, cryptic shock were associated with poor compliance, important organisational factors such as inexperience of clinicians, overcrowding and inter-hospital transfers were also identified. A comprehensive understanding of the facilitators and barriers to early fluid administration is essential to design quality improvement projects.

as reported in: BMC Emerg Med. 2022 Jan 11; 22(1): 3