Sepsis after Scotland: enough with the averages, show us the effect modifiers

Cuthbertson and colleagues demonstrate that survivors of severe sepsis face, in general continued ongoing high mortality and quite poor quality of life. This cohort caps the initial, problem-definition stage on long-term outcomes after critical illness. Having compellingly demonstrated the opportunities for improvements in outcomes, epidemiologic and behavioral research must now to turn to understanding the mechanisms by which these outcomes can be improved. Such fundamental research will provide the evidence base to drive informed and successful interventional trials.