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Clinical Trial Summary

The global burden of sepsis is substantial with an estimated 15 to 19 million cases per year; the vast majority of these cases occur in low income countries. New therapeutic approaches to sepsis are desperately required; considering the global burden of sepsis these interventions should be effective, cheap, safe and readily available. The aim is to study the synergistic effect of vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamine on survival in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock.

Clinical Trial Description


The goal is to determine the effects on clinical course and outcome of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock treated with vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamine.


This study will be conducted in the intensive care unit of Department of Gastroenterology, University Medical Center (UMC) Ljubljana. All of the patients with severe sepsis and septic shock admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the past 12 hours will be screened for possible inclusion in the study. The diagnosis of severe sepsis and septic shock will be based on the 1992 American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine Consensus Conference definitions.


After determining the eligibility for inclusion in our study, the investigators will acquire the written consent from the patient or relatives. The investigators (doctor on call) will randomize the patient either in the treatment or placebo group. The randomization will be done before-hand with the online tool Research Randomizer. After acquiring the randomized numbers, they will be placed in sealed envelopes. These envelopes will be available to the on-call doctor. The envelopes will then be sent to our outpatient clinic, where the studied substances will be mixed by a nurse, that will have no contact with the patients or the ICU staff. The substances will be marked with Vitamin C, Thiamine and Hydrocortisone, regardless if normal saline or the actual substances are inside the vials. Only this nurse will have the data regarding the contents of the vials.

Based on literature the investigators expect that survival and clinical course in sepsis and septic shock is correlated with fluid resuscitation and vasopressor use. Because of this, all of the included patients will be monitored with invasive hemodynamic monitoring (All of the patients will be monitored with the Edwards EV 1000 monitors).

All of the patients will be treated the same as per internationally recognized guidelines for treatment of septic shock. While the use of corticosteroids in severe sepsis is off-label, the patients will be informed of possible side-effects. This fact will also be written in the consent.

Neither the patients or the relatives will receive no financial compensation for study inclusion. During the hospitalization, the patients will receive three different substances in dosages, that are non toxic. During the study, there will be intermittent statistical analysis, and if increased mortality or severe side effects will be found then the study will be terminated. The confidentiality of personal data will be protected accordingly with the rules and laws of patient's privacy. The identity of patients will not be disclosed. The data acquired during the study will be available to the study participant. The anticipated costs will be covered by the Department of Gastroenterology, UMC Ljubljana. No financial compensation will be given to researchers.

During the study the following data will be acquired from the patients:

1. Age,

2. Sex,

3. Body weight,

4. Admitting diagnosis and source of infection,

5. Isolated pathogens,

6. Comorbidities,

7. The need for mechanical ventilation,

8. The use of vasopressors (all doses will be converted to Norepinephrine equivalents),

9. The duration of vasoactive therapy,

10. Daily urine output,

11. Fluid balance after 24 and 72 hours,

12. The presence of acute kidney failure

13. Duration of ICU stay and hospital stay,

14. Survival in ICU, hospital, after 28 and 60 days

15. Routine blood test for the first 4 days, a. creatinine b. White Blood Cells (WBC) c. Platelets d. Bilirubin e. Partial Pressure of Oxygen in Arterial Blood/Fraction of Inspired Oxygen (PaO2/FiO2) ratio e. procalcitonin (PCT) and procalcitonin clearance f. lactate g. blood samples will be stored for possible additional analysis

The patients' admission Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II and APACHE IV scores will be recorded. The APACHE IV score allows calculation of the predicted hospital mortality and predicted ICU length of stay (LOS). The daily Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score will be recorded for the first 4 treatment days.

Data analysis:

Summary statistics will be used to describe the clinical data and presented as mean ± standard deviation (SD), median with interquartile range (IQR) or percentages as appropriate. Chi squared analysis with Fisher's exact test (when appropriate) and Student's t test (Mann Whitney U test for non-normal distributions) were used to compare data between the active treatment group and the placebo group with statistical significance declared for probability values of 0.05 or less.

Data Safety & storage:

The main risk to subjects is the accidental release of Protected Health Information (PHI). Careful record management methods will be in place to ensure this type of privacy breach does not occur. The data set will be kept in a password-protected file and stored separately from the subject identification (ID) key in the locked office of the principal investigator. Only the research team will have access to this information, and will not disclose this information to any other person or entity. Three years after the completion of the study, all collected data will be destroyed by permanently deleting electronic copies.


The investigators expect a faster recovery, shorter hospitalization, shorter use of vasoactive drugs and better survival in treatment group versus (vs.) control group. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT03335124
Study type Interventional
Source University Medical Centre Ljubljana
Status Terminated
Phase Phase 4
Start date September 26, 2017
Completion date December 1, 2018

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