Purpose Patients with severe sepsis who experience rapid, early deterioration and death are of particular concern. Our objective was to identify predictors of early death in Emergency Department (ED) patients with severe sepsis. Methods Secondary analysis of two prospective studies of adult ED patients with severe sepsis. The primary outcome was early death, defined as death within 24 h of triage. Results Out of 410 severe sepsis admissions, 20 patients experienced early death. These patients demonstrated significantly higher initial lactate (7.3 versus 3.3 mmol/L, p < 0.001) and modified SOFA (mSOFA) scores (10 vs 6, p < 0.001), were less likely to normalize their lactate (p < 0.001), had lower initial pH (p < 0.001), and more frequently had early positive blood cultures (p = 0.021). Multivariable logistic regression identified initial serum lactate level (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.06–1.35) and mSOFA score (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.00–1.36) as independent predictors of early death. A repeat lactate ≥ 5 mmol/L had a sensitivity of 55% and specificity of 89% for early death. There were no significant treatment differences between groups. Conclusion Initial serum lactate and mSOFA score were independent predictors of mortality within 24 h of ED admission in patients with severe sepsis.
- Organ dysfunction