A trial of drotrecogin alfa (activated) has resulted in the first successful outcome in reducing mortality rates in severe sepsis. Because critical care nurses will be directly involved with the administration of drotrecogin alfa (activated) to patients with severe sepsis, knowledge of the preparation, infusion, and monitoring of the drug, presented in this article, is essential.

Sepsis is a complex process that continues to pose a challenge in critical care. Despite advances in the management of infectious disease, the inability to successfully treat sepsis remains an unsolved clinical problem. Sepsis with acute organ dysfunction (severe sepsis) is common, often fatal, and expensive to treat. Each year, approximately 215000 deaths are due to severe sepsis.11 This number is virtually identical to the number of persons in the United States who die suddenly of coronary heart disease without being...

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