What Is Early Goal Directed Therapy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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Early goal directed therapy can refer to two different topics in medicine: intensive monitoring of cardiac patients and rapid intervention for patients with sepsis, a serious condition caused by the body's response to infection. Patients provided with this treatment tend to experience better outcomes, including an increased chance of survival and fewer medical complications. At facilities that use early goal directed therapy in treatment, personnel receive specialized training to be able to provide the level of treatment and support necessary. Numerous studies have compared both treatments against control groups to verify that they are effective.

In the case of cardiac patients, some are at increased risk of complications during and after surgery. Care providers use a combination of intensive monitoring and aggressive treatment to keep these patients as stable as possible. In early goal directed therapy, patients may wear additional monitors beyond the standard equipment to allow care teams to track blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation, and other traits. As soon as a problem is identified, the care team can use medication, fluids, and other tools to keep the patient stable.


Hemodynamic stability, the delicate balance of blood pressure, heart rate, and circulation, is of critical importance in cardiac patients. They are more at risk of problems because of their heart issues, especially after surgery, when they may have issues like difficulty breathing after intubation in the operating room. Aggressive care programs can improve patient outcomes by tightly controlling the patient’s organ systems to limit the chance of failure and keep the patient’s body functioning as well as possible.

Patients with sepsis can benefit from a different form of early goal directed therapy. This includes two separate techniques to improve patient outcomes. The first is the rapid provision of oxygen therapy, and ongoing monitoring and treatment to address falls in oxygen saturation. These can present a significant risk to the patient’s health, and rapid intervention can decrease the risks of complications. If necessary, the patient can be placed on a mechanical ventilator for appropriate oxygenation.

Additionally, the early goal directed therapy involves the rapid provision of antibiotics to the patient. People who receive antibiotics as quickly as possible tend to experience better outcomes, because every minute counts in sepsis. The sooner patients get medications to kill the bacteria in their bodies, the lower the chance of serious complications like organ failure. Protocols may call for immediate intravenous antibiotics to start attacking the bacteria even before the patient is admitted to the hospital, with the goal of starting treatment rapidly.


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