Practice guidelines are systematically developed statements and recommendations that assist the physicians and patients in making decisions about appropriate health care measures for specific clinical circumstances taking into account specific national health care structures. The 1st revision of the S-2k guideline of the German Sepsis Society in collaboration with 17 German medical scientific societies and one self-help group provides state-of-the-art information (results of controlled clinical trials and expert knowledge) on the effective and appropriate medical care (prevention, diagnosis, therapy and follow-up care) of critically ill patients with severe sepsis or septic shock. The guideline had been developed according to the “German Instrument for Methodological Guideline Appraisal” of the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF). In view of the inevitable advancements in scientific knowledge and technical expertise, revisions, updates and amendments must be periodically initiated. The guideline recommendations may not be applied under all circumstances. It rests with the clinician to decide whether a certain recommendation should be adopted or not, taking into consideration the unique set of clinical facts presented in connection with each individual patient as well as the available resources
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