PURPOSE: We assessed long-term mortality and hospitalisation in patients with severe sepsis resuscitated with hydroxyethyl starch (HES) or Ringer's acetate. METHODS: This was an investigator-initiated, parallel-grouped, blinded randomised trial using computer-generated allocation sequence and centralised allocation data that included 804 patients with severe sepsis needing fluid resuscitation in 26 general intensive care units (ICUs) in Scandinavia. Patients were allocated to fluid resuscitation using either 6% HES 130/0.42 or Ringer's acetate during ICU admission. We assessed mortality rates at 6 months, 1 year and at the time of longest follow-up and days alive and out of hospital at 1 year. RESULTS: The vital status of all patients was obtained at a median of 22 (range 13-36) months after randomisation. Mortality rates in the HES versus Ringer's groups at 6 months were 53.3 (212/398 patients) versus 47.5% (190/400) [relative risk 1.12; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.98-1.29; P = 0.10], respectively; at 1 year, 56.0 (223/398) versus 51.5% (206/400) (1.09; 95% CI 0.96-1.24; P = 0.20), respectively; at the time of longest follow-up, 59.8 (238/398) versus 56.3% (225/400) (1.06; 95% CI 0.94-1.20; P = 0.31), respectively. Percentage of days alive and out of hospital at 1 year in the HES versus Ringer's groups was 24 (0-87 days) versus 63% (0-90) (P = 0.07). CONCLUSIONS: The long-term mortality rates did not differ in patients with severe sepsis assigned to HES 130/0.42 versus Ringer's acetate, but we could not reject a 24% relative increased or a 4% relative decreased mortality at 1 year with HES at the 95% confidence level.
Intensive Care Medicine, 2014, Vol 40, Issue 7, p. 927-934