Septic Shock Surveillance Should be Based on Clinical Data, Not Billing Codes

February 14, 2017

Sepsis is a major public health problem and the focus of national quality measures and performance improvement initiatives. Understanding what is happening with sepsis rates and outcomes is thus an area of great importance. However, tracking sepsis rates and outcomes is challenging because it is a heterogeneous syndrome without a definitive "gold standard" test. In the February issue of CHEST, investigators compared the effectiveness of claims-based surveillance using ICD-9 codes with clinical-based data and specific diagnostic parameters. Their findings suggest that surveillance based on clinical criteria is a more reliable way to track cases of septic shock.

Orexin as a Potential Drug for Treating Septic Shock

February 9, 2017

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition due to excessive immune responses to infection that damages the patient's own tissues and organs. In septic shock, the severest stage of sepsis, the blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level, often leading to multiple organ failure and death. To date, there is no effective therapy yet available for septic shock. Recent findings by Japanese scientists may be a breakthrough in developing a silver bullet for the treatment of septic shock.

Sepsis Trumps Four Medical Conditions Tracked by CMS for Hospital Readmission Rates

January 23, 2017

Sepsis accounts for considerably more hospital readmissions and associated costs than any of the four medical conditions tracked by the federal government to measure quality of care and guide pay-for-performance reimbursements, according to an analysis led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Is Procalcitonin in Your Healthcare Facility's Antibiotic Stewardship Arsenal?

January 5, 2017

In the short time that it takes to make my favorite meal, shrimp pad Thai (20 minutes), one equally rapid and reliable laboratory test, Procalcitonin (PCT), can quickly inform a licensed healthcare provider that their patient has a bacterial infection, not a viral infection, and halt a fatal outcome (BioMérieux, 2016; Food and Drug Administration, 2012; Lee, 2013; Pantelidou and Giamarellos-Bourboulis, 2015; Schuetz and Mueller, 2016). The untimely identification of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections is the No. 1 cause of human deaths occurring from sepsis-related events and has increased three-fold over the last decade (World Sepsis, 2016). Antibiotic stewardship is a necessary fundamental in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections and should be a priority for all healthcare facility types; antibiotic stewardship is not confined to hospitals (O’Brien and Gould, 2013).

'Pulling' Bacteria Out of Blood to Fight Sepsis

December 7, 2016

Blood poisoning, or sepsis, is still fatal in more than 50 percent of cases, but can be cured if treated at an early stage. The highest priority is therefore to act quickly.

Scientists Develop Method for Faster Diagnosis of Sepsis-Causing Pathogens

November 7, 2016

It is estimated that in Germany alone around 150,000 people fall ill with sepsis every year; despite medical advances, between 30 percent and 50 percent of the patients still die of the consequences. One of the reasons for the high mortality rate: the diagnosis often comes too late for the lifesaving therapy with antibiotics that only combat the specific causative pathogen. In general the sepsis pathogens are detected by means of so-called blood cultures in which the pathogenic organism from blood samples of the patients are cultivated in the laboratory. Here, two to five days pass before the pathogens have multiplied and a result is available. Due to rapid progress in nucleic acid analysis, the currently available high-throughput technologies (Next-Generation Sequencing) make it possible to sequence the complete genome of organisms within just a few hours and to check them against known gene sequences.