Inception: 2002

Original Stated Goal of Campaign:

To reduce mortality from sepsis by 25% via a 7-point agenda including:
  • Building awareness of sepsis
  • Improving diagnosis
  • Increasing the use of appropriate treatment
  • Educating healthcare professionals
  • Improving post-ICU care
  • Developing guidelines of care
  • Implementing a performance improvement program

 Phase I

Phase I:  Development of Awareness of Scope of the Problem

Late 2001/Early 2002
  • Separate from Campaign activities, a sepsis definitions conference was held in December 2001 to determine if new data existed to inform updates to criteria established in 1991.  Levy MM, Fink MP, Marshall JC, et al.  2001 SCCM/SCCP/ATS/SIS International Sepsis Definitions Conference. Crit Care Med. 2003 31(4):1250-6.
  • Campaign formed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, and the International Sepsis Forum. Launched at the ESICM Annual Meeting in Barcelona in fall 2002. Presentation of a plan to develop guidelines and promote sign-on to the "Barcelona Declaration."
  • Steering committee formed with 3 representatives from each of the 3 societies.

January 2003

  • Executive committee meeting held in Amsterdam to plan guidelines development process.

February 2003

  • Survey of global public awareness of sepsis presented at SCCM’s 32nd Critical Care Congress in San Antonio, Texas.

 Phase II

Phase II:  Development and Publication of Guidelines

June 2003
  • Representatives of 11 international societies convened to develop guidelines for the management of severe sepsis and septic shock.
September 2003
  • The Surviving Sepsis Campaign initiated a partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to apply their successful quality improvement techniques to treatment of sepsis. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign Bundles evolved from this collaboration.
  • Education initiatives continue at critical care conferences globally.

March and April 2004

  • Publication of edition one (1) of the guidelines in Critical Care Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines for management of severe sepsis and septic shock​; Crit Care Med Vol 32 No. 3.

 Phase III

Phase III:  Guideline Implementation, Behavior Change, and Data Collection

January 2004

  • Steering Committee convened to determine direction of data collection activities.

September 2004

  • Campaign presented to European clinicians at Mediterranean Critical Care School and international representatives gathered to begin development of bundles.
  • Pocket guidelines and posters developed and distributed by SCCM in North America and ESICM in Europe.
  • Development of data collection tool initiated.

November 2004
  • Supplement to Critical Care Medicine including background papers for all guidelines published.

February 2005

  • Regional networks established to promote collaboration in data collection and performance improvement throughout US.

December 2005

  • Implementing the Surviving Sepsis Campaign, the manual for conducting the Campaign in local hospitals published.

January 2006

  • Approximately 5000 copies of manual distributed in North America.
  • Campaign session at SCCM’s 35th Critical Care Congress highlights data collection.
  • Meeting of representatives from 28 countries held during SCCM Congress to begin development of the second edition of the
    Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines.


  • Second edition of Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines published in Critical Care Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Performance improvement efforts continue worldwide with data collection, educational programs, and Listserv collaboration.
  • International Sepsis Forum leaves Campaign to avoid any misconceptions about industry involvement.
  • Second Edition guidelines published, Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International guidelines for management of severe sepsis and septic shock: 2008; Crit Care Med 2008 Vol 36 No 1.


  • Publication of results of 15,000 patient data set shows association of bundle compliance with 20% relative risk reduction.


  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fund development of educational programming, research, and Campaign outreach.


  • Third edition of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines published along with revised bundless, Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International Guidelines for Management of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock: 2012​; Crit Care Med Vol 41 No. 2.

 Phase IV


Phase IV:  Reinvigoration of the Campaign


  • European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and the Society of Critical Care Medicine announce a reinvigoration of the Campaign with the Surviving Sepsis Campaign Declaration at SCCM’s 42nd Critical Care Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Regulatory bodies in the United States adopt the Surviving Sepsis Campaign Bundles as mandated measures. 
  • The Campaign prepares to incorporate new data as they are published into guidelines revisions.
  • Sepsis in resource limited environments international task force formed "Scan - Teach -Treat" model tested at Gitwe Hospital in Rwanda.


  • European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and the Society of Critical Care Medicine publish fourth edition, Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International Guidelines for Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock: 2016, released at the 46th Critical Care Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
  • Research Committee established to explore gaps in clinical research.
  • Approval for a separate children's guideline stimulates new focus on newborns and children for campaign.
  • ESICM and SCCM invited to a panel discussion at the WHO on sepsis in obstetrics.
  • SSC launches app.


  • Surviving Sepsis Campaign appoints co-chairs of children's guideline to steering committee.
  • ESICM and SCCM invited to serve on WHO panel in support of sepsis resolution.
  • ESICM and SCCM join Global Sepsis Alliance.
  • SCCM partners with Sepsis Alliance U.S. to produce a sepsis survivorship video​.
  • SCCM and SSC partners consult with CDC on Get Ahead of Sepsis Campaign​
  • ​Surviving Sepsis Campaign publishes a revision to the bundle based on 2016 guidelines. Bundle changes from 3 hours and 6 hours to 1 hour to encourage more rapid interventions for adult sepsis and septic shock patients.
  • ESICM announces research committee findings session at ESICM's 31st Annual Congress LIVES 2018 in Paris, France.
  • Guidelines translations posted on survivingsepsis.org.
  • SSC Facebook page reaches high 14,100 followers.
  • Sepsis in resource-limited nations manuscript published.