Campaign’s history Since its inception in 2002 the Campaign has achieved several key milestones.

Original Stated Goal of Campaign
To reduce mortality from sepsis by 25% in 5 years (that translates to 2009 from the date of publication of the first set of guidelines) 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 was formed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, and the International Sepsis Forum and launched at the ESICM Annual Meeting in Barcelona in Fall 2002 with presentation of 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 in Windsor , UK to develop guidelines for the management of severe sepsis and septic shock.

March and April 2004

  • Publication of guidelines in Critical Care Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine.

 Phase III

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

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.

January 2004

  • Steering Committee convened to determine direction of data collection activities.
  • The American College of Emergency Physicians importance to the improvement efforts was recognized and they were invited to join the Campaign.

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, was 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 an updated 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.


  • 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 bundles.

 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 the guideline


  • European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and the Society of Critical Care Medicine publish the 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 new children's guideline stimulates new focus on neonates and children for campaign.


  • Surviving Sepsis Campaign appoints co-chairs of children's guideline to steering committee.