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CJEM. 2008 Sep;10(5):443-59.

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Sepsis Guidelines: the optimal management of severe sepsis in Canadian emergency departments.

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Department of Emergency Medicine and the Division of Critical Care Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



Optimal management of severe sepsis in the ED has evolved rapidly. The purpose of these guidelines is to review key management principles for Canadian emergency physicians, utilizing an evidence-based grading system.


Key areas in the management of septic patents were determined by members of the CAEP Critical Care Interest Group (C4). Members of C4 were assigned a question to be answered after literature review, based on the Oxford grading system. After completion, each section underwent a secondary review by another member of C4. A tertiary review was conducted by additional external experts, and modifications were determined by consensus. Grading was based on peer-reviewed publications only, and where evidence was insufficient to address an important topic, a "practice point" was provided based on group opinion.


The project was initiated in 2005 and completed in December 2007. Key areas which were reviewed include the definition of sepsis, the use of invasive procedures, fluid resuscitation, vasopressor/inotrope use, the importance of culture acquisitionin the ED, antimicrobial therapy and source control. Other areas reviewed included the use of corticosteroids, activated protein C, transfusions and mechanical ventilation.


Early sepsis management in the ED is paramount for optimal patient outcomes. The CAEP Critical Care Interest Group Sepsis Position Statement provides a framework to improve the ED care of this patient population.

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