CDC urges early recognition, prompt treatment of sepsis


MHSC encourages clinicians, patients and caregivers to ‘Get Ahead of Sepsis’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched “Get Ahead of Sepsis,” an educational initiative to protect Americans from the devastating effects of sepsis. This initiative emphasizes the importance of early recognition and timely treatment, as well as the importance of preventing infections that could lead to sepsis.

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening and, without timely treatment, can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Each year in the U.S., more than 1.5 million people develop sepsis, and at least 250,000 Americans die as a result.

Public education is critical to save lives since, for many patients, sepsis develops from an infection that begins outside the hospital.

Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County is having success in treating sepsis and, as a result, is seeing lower mortality rates, according to Deb Sutton, MHSC marketing and public relations director.

In October 2015, MHSC had a mortality rate for sepsis at 15.75 percent. The numbers a year later showed it had dropped to about 1.56 percent.

The numbers for those transferred to the University of Utah also dropped from a mortality rate of 14.89 percent in October 2015 to 8.3 percent a year later.

Like many hospitals, MHSC follows a certain set of protocols adopted through the “Surviving Sepsis Campaign” in diagnosing and treating sepsis by looking for early signs and symptoms and then following with specific intervention.

“Get Ahead of Sepsis” calls on health care professionals to educate patients, prevent infections, suspect and identify sepsis early, and start sepsis treatment fast. In addition, this work urges patients and their families to prevent infections, be alert to the symptoms of sepsis, and seek immediate medical care if sepsis is suspected or for an infection that is not improving or is getting worse.

“Detecting sepsis early and starting immediate treatment is often the difference between life and death. It starts with preventing the infections that lead to sepsis,” said CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald. “We created “Get Ahead of Sepsis” to give people the resources they need to help stop this medical emergency in its tracks.”

The signs and symptoms of sepsis can include a combination of any of the following:

• confusion or disorientation,

• shortness of breath,

• high heart rate,

• fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold,

• extreme pain or discomfort, and

• clammy or sweaty skin.

“Health care professionals, patients, and their family members can work as a team to prevent infections and be alert to the signs of sepsis,” said Dr. Lauren Epstein, medical officer in CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.  “Get Ahead of Sepsis encourages health care professionals and patients to talk about steps, such as taking good care of chronic conditions, which help prevent infections that could lead to sepsis.”

CDC is continuing to:

• study the risk factors for sepsis;

• help health care professionals, patients and their families to recognize the signs of sepsis;

• develop more reliable ways to measure the impact of successful interventions; and

• encourage infection prevention through vaccination programs, chronic disease management, and appropriate antibiotic use.

For more information about Get Ahead of Sepsis and to access materials, visit:

Check it out: Four ways to Get Ahead of Sepsis,

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