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Automated monitoring compared to standard care for the early detection of sepsis in critically ill patients

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2018
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  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (55th percentile)

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Automated monitoring compared to standard care for the early detection of sepsis in critically ill patients
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd012404.pub2
Pubmed ID

Sheryl Warttig, Phil Alderson, David JW Evans, Sharon R Lewis, Irene S Kourbeti, Andrew F Smith


Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that is usually diagnosed when a patient has a suspected or documented infection, and meets two or more criteria for systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). The incidence of sepsis is higher among people admitted to critical care settings such as the intensive care unit (ICU) than among people in other settings. If left untreated sepsis can quickly worsen; severe sepsis has a mortality rate of 40% or higher, depending on definition. Recognition of sepsis can be challenging as it usually requires patient data to be combined from multiple unconnected sources, and interpreted correctly, which can be complex and time consuming to do. Electronic systems that are designed to connect information sources together, and automatically collate, analyse, and continuously monitor the information, as well as alerting healthcare staff when pre-determined diagnostic thresholds are met, may offer benefits by facilitating earlier recognition of sepsis and faster initiation of treatment, such as antimicrobial therapy, fluid resuscitation, inotropes, and vasopressors if appropriate. However, there is the possibility that electronic, automated systems do not offer benefits, or even cause harm. This might happen if the systems are unable to correctly detect sepsis (meaning that treatment is not started when it should be, or it is started when it shouldn't be), or healthcare staff may not respond to alerts quickly enough, or get 'alarm fatigue' especially if the alarms go off frequently or give too many false alarms. To evaluate whether automated systems for the early detection of sepsis can reduce the time to appropriate treatment (such as initiation of antibiotics, fluids, inotropes, and vasopressors) and improve clinical outcomes in critically ill patients in the ICU. We searched CENTRAL; MEDLINE; Embase; CINAHL; ISI Web of science; and LILACS, clinicaltrials.gov, and the World Health Organization trials portal. We searched all databases from their date of inception to 18 September 2017, with no restriction on country or language of publication. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared automated sepsis-monitoring systems to standard care (such as paper-based systems) in participants of any age admitted to intensive or critical care units for critical illness. We defined an automated system as any process capable of screening patient records or data (one or more systems) automatically at intervals for markers or characteristics that are indicative of sepsis. We defined critical illness as including, but not limited to postsurgery, trauma, stroke, myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, burns, and hypovolaemic or haemorrhagic shock. We excluded non-randomized studies, quasi-randomized studies, and cross-over studies . We also excluded studies including people already diagnosed with sepsis. We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Our primary outcomes were: time to initiation of antimicrobial therapy; time to initiation of fluid resuscitation; and 30-day mortality. Secondary outcomes included: length of stay in ICU; failed detection of sepsis; and quality of life. We used GRADE to assess the quality of evidence for each outcome. We included three RCTs in this review. It was unclear if the RCTs were three separate studies involving 1199 participants in total, or if they were reports from the same study involving fewer participants. We decided to treat the studies separately, as we were unable to make contact with the study authors to clarify.All three RCTs are of very low study quality because of issues with unclear randomization methods, allocation concealment and uncertainty of effect size. Some of the studies were reported as abstracts only and contained limited data, which prevented meaningful analysis and assessment of potential biases.The studies included participants who all received automated electronic monitoring during their hospital stay. Participants were randomized to an intervention group (automated alerts sent from the system) or to usual care (no automated alerts sent from the system).Evidence from all three studies reported 'Time to initiation of antimicrobial therapy'. We were unable to pool the data, but the largest study involving 680 participants reported median time to initiation of antimicrobial therapy in the intervention group of 5.6 hours (interquartile range (IQR) 2.3 to 19.7) in the intervention group (n = not stated) and 7.8 hours (IQR 2.5 to 33.1) in the control group (n = not stated).No studies reported 'Time to initiation of fluid resuscitation' or the adverse event 'Mortality at 30 days'. However very low-quality evidence was available where mortality was reported at other time points. One study involving 77 participants reported 14-day mortality of 20% in the intervention group and 21% in the control group (numerator and denominator not stated). One study involving 442 participants reported mortality at 28 days, or discharge was 14% in the intervention group and 10% in the control group (numerator and denominator not reported). Sample sizes were not reported adequately for these outcomes and so we could not estimate confidence intervals.Very low-quality evidence from one study involving 442 participants reported 'Length of stay in ICU'. Median length of stay was 3.0 days in the intervention group (IQR = 2.0 to 5.0), and 3.0 days (IQR 2.0 to 4.0 in the control).Very low-quality evidence from one study involving at least 442 participants reported the adverse effect 'Failed detection of sepsis'. Data were only reported for failed detection of sepsis in two participants and it wasn't clear which group(s) this outcome occurred in.No studies reported 'Quality of life'. It is unclear what effect automated systems for monitoring sepsis have on any of the outcomes included in this review. Very low-quality evidence is only available on automated alerts, which is only one component of automated monitoring systems. It is uncertain whether such systems can replace regular, careful review of the patient's condition by experienced healthcare staff.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 174 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 174 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 23 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 21 12%
Student > Master 18 10%
Researcher 17 10%
Other 14 8%
Other 34 20%
Unknown 47 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 51 29%
Nursing and Health Professions 29 17%
Computer Science 8 5%
Engineering 5 3%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 3%
Other 26 15%
Unknown 50 29%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 3. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 07 August 2018.
All research outputs
of 13,801,769 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 10,738 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 272,415 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 166 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,801,769 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 46th percentile – i.e., 46% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 10,738 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.3. This one is in the 23rd percentile – i.e., 23% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 272,415 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 55% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 166 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 11th percentile – i.e., 11% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.