Send to

Choose Destination
Crit Care Med. 2019 Oct;47(10):1290-1300. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000003892.

Antibiotic- and Fluid-Focused Bundles Potentially Improve Sepsis Management, but High-Quality Evidence Is Lacking for the Specificity Required in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service's Sepsis Bundle (SEP-1).

Author information

Critical Care Medicine Department, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
NIH Library, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.



To address three controversial components in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service's sepsis bundle for performance measure (SEP-1): antibiotics within 3 hours, a 30 mL/kg fluid infusion for all hypotensive patients, and repeat lactate measurements within 6 hours if initially elevated. We hypothesized that antibiotic- and fluid-focused bundles like SEP-1 would probably show benefit, but evidence supporting specific antibiotic timing, fluid dosing, or serial lactate requirements would not be concordant. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis of studies of sepsis bundles like SEP-1.


PubMed, Embase, through March 15, 2018.


Studies comparing survival in septic adults receiving versus not receiving antibiotic- and fluid-focused bundles.


Two investigators (D.J.P., P.Q.E.).


Seventeen observational studies (11,303 controls and 4,977 bundle subjects) met inclusion criteria. Bundles were associated with increased odds ratios of survival (odds ratio [95% CI]) in 15 studies with substantial heterogeneity (I = 61%; p < 0.01). Survival benefits were consistent in the five largest (1,697-12,486 patients per study) (1.20 [1.11-1.30]; I = 0%) and six medium-sized studies (167-1,029) (2.03 [1.52-2.71]; I = 8%) but not the six smallest (64-137) (1.25 [0.42-3.66]; I = 57%). Bundles were associated with similarly increased survival benefits whether requiring antibiotics within 1 hour (n = 7 studies) versus 3 hours (n = 8) versus no specified time (n = 2); or 30 mL/kg fluid (n = 7) versus another volume (≥ 2 L, n = 1; ≥ 20 mL/kg, n = 2; 1.5-2 L or 500 mL, n = 1 each; none specified, n = 4) (p = 0.19 for each comparison). In the only study employing serial lactate measurements, survival was not increased versus others. No study had a low risk of bias or assessed potential adverse bundle effects.


Available studies support the notion that antibiotic- and fluid-focused sepsis bundles like SEP-1 improve survival but do not demonstrate the superiority of any specific antibiotic time or fluid volume or of serial lactate measurements. Until strong reproducible evidence demonstrates the safety and benefit of any fixed requirement for these interventions, the present findings support the revision of SEP-1 to allow flexibility in treatment according to physician judgment.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center