Crit Care. 2020 Aug 6;24(1):488. doi: 10.1186/s13054-020-03204-x.
BACKGROUND: The effect of the timing of norepinephrine initiation on clinical outcomes in patients with septic shock is uncertain. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the impact of early and late start of norepinephrine support on clinical outcomes in patients with septic shock.
METHODS: We searched the PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase databases for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort studies from inception to the 1st of March 2020. We included studies involving adult patients (> 18 years) with septic shock. All authors reported our primary outcome of short-term mortality and clearly comparing early versus late norepinephrine initiation with clinically relevant secondary outcomes (ICU length of stay, time to achieved target mean arterial pressure (≥ 65 mmHg), and volume of intravenous fluids within 6 h). Results were expressed as odds ratio (OR) and mean difference (MD) with accompanying 95% confidence interval (CI).
RESULTS: Five studies including 929 patients were included. The primary outcome of this meta-analysis showed that the short-term mortality of the early group was lower than that of the late group (odds ratio [OR] = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.61; P < 0.00001; χ2 = 3.74; I2 = 0%). Secondary outcomes demonstrated that the time to achieved target MAP of the early group was shorter than that of the late group (mean difference = - 1.39; 95% CI, - 1.81 to - 0.96; P < 0.00001; χ2 = 1.03; I2 = 0%). The volume of intravenous fluids within 6 h of the early group was less than that of the late group (mean difference = - 0.50; 95% CI, - 0.68 to - 0.32; P < 0.00001; χ2 = 33.76; I2 = 94%). There was no statistically significant difference in the ICU length of stay between the two groups (mean difference = - 0.11; 95% CI, - 1.27 to 1.05; P = 0.86; χ2 = 0.85; I2 = 0%).
CONCLUSIONS: Early initiation of norepinephrine in patients with septic shock was associated with decreased short-term mortality, shorter time to achieved target MAP, and less volume of intravenous fluids within 6 h. There was no significant difference in ICU length of stay between early and late groups. Further large-scale RCTs are still required to confirm these results.