Fluid resuscitation is widely practiced in treating sepsis. Comparative assessment of the different fluid modalities is hampered by a paucity of direct trials. We present a network meta-analysis for assessing the relative effectiveness of two fluid treatments in sepsis when they have not been compared directly in a randomized trial but have each been compared with a common treatment.
A systematic review of trials sepsis yielded 13 trials for assessment in network meta-analysis. The indirect comparison between albumin, HES and crystalloid was conducted using Bayesian methods for binomial likelihood, fixed-effects network meta-analysis with a Monte Carlo Gibbs sampling method. Studies in septic patients with crystalloid as a reference treatment compared with any formulation of the colloid treatments albumin or HES were included, as were direct head-to-head trials between the two colloids.
Albumin as a fluid therapy in sepsis is associated with the lowest mortality of the three modalities studied.
Figure 1. Forest plot of results of Bayesian fixed-effect network meta-analysis of mortality.