End-tidal carbon dioxide as a goal of early sepsis therapy

Faheem W. Guirgis*, Deborah J. Williams, Colleen J. Kalynych, Mary E. Hardy, Alan E. Jones, Sunita Dodani, Robert L. Wears

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To determine the use of end-tidal carbon dioxide (etco2) as an end point of sepsis resuscitation.

Methods This was a prospective, observational, single-center cohort study of emergency department patients receiving treatment for severe sepsis with a quantitative resuscitation protocol. Three etco2 readings were taken during a 1-minute time frame at 0, 3, and 6 hours of treatment. Linear regression was used to characterize the association between etco2 and central venous oxygen saturation (SCVo2) and lactate and also to determine the relationship between their change. Analysis of variance was used to determine the relationship between etco2 and disposition.

Results Sixty-nine patients were included in our final analysis. For baseline values, linear regression failed to show a relationship between etco2 and SCVo2 (β = - 0.04, t(70) = - 0.53, P =.60) but showed a nearly significant relationship (β = - 0.51, t(70) = - 1.90, P =.06) with lactate. There was no significant relationship between etco2 and SCVo2 at 3 hours (β = 0.12, t(70) = 1.43, P =.16) or 6 hours (β = 0.05, t(64) = 0.82, P =.67). There was also no significant relationship between 6-hour change in etco2 and change in SCVo2 (β = 0.04, t(64) = 0.43, P =.67) or lactate (β = 0.04, t(59) = 0.52, P =.60) or disposition (F(4) = 0.78, P =.54).

Conclusion End-tidal carbon dioxide is unlikely to be a useful clinical end point for sepsis resuscitation, although it may be useful as a triage tool in suspected sepsis because baseline values may reflect initial lactate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1356
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


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