ICU Management & Practice, Volume 17 - Issue 1, 2017

Surviving Sepsis Campaign 2016 Guidelines Released

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The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) (, has released its 2016 guidelines for the management of sepsis and septic shock. The document, published simultaneously in Critical Care Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine, is an update to the 2012 SSC guidelines.

The recommendations in the document cannot replace the clinician’s decisionmaking capability when presented with a patient’s unique set of clinical variables, according to the international consensus committee, composed of 55 international experts representing 25 international organisations involved in the care of patients with sepsis. Unlike most clinical guidelines that contain a “what to do” list, the updated SSC guidelines also include many recommendations that are negative or “what not to do”.


Committee member, Prof. Jean-Louis Vincent, MD, PhD, FCCM, of Erasme University Hospital, Brussels, explained why to ICU Management & Practice.


“Our committee wanted to strictly limit recommendations to what is well established in the literature (so-called evidence-based) and virtually all our clinical trials in the field have been negative or have shown harm rather than benefit. Hence it is not surprising that most recommendations are negative, i.e., indicating what we should not do rather than what we should do. Guidelines are helpful to guide those who do not follow the literature and this updated version will be welcomed by non-experts.”


Fellow committee member, Prof. Flavia Machado, of the Latin America Sepsis Institute, told ICU Management & Practice: “The Surviving Sepsis Guidelines 2016 bring new perspectives on sepsis treatment. The recommendations are all based on the best available evidence, also taking into account not only the balance between costs and benefits but also the feasibility and the economic impact. This is of major relevance for the low and middle-income countries where resources are limited and need to be carefully directed to those who could really benefit from them.”

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The guidelines and related resources are linked on the Surviving Sepsis Campaign website at

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Surviving Sepsis Campaign 2016 Guidelines Released Surviving Sepsis Campaign 2016 Guidelines Released

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