Members of the "Surviving Sepsis" Campaign Aim to Create Awareness of And Take Action Against 10th Most Common Cause of Death

SAN ANTONIO -- Intensive care professionals from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) annual meeting today called for action to reduce the number of deaths from one of the world's oldest and most virulent killers -- sepsis. It is estimated that worldwide, 1,400 people die each day from sepsis, with up to 30 percent dying within one month of diagnosis. Comparatively, more people die from sepsis than from stroke, breast cancer and lung cancer combined.

The Surviving Sepsis declaration is a call-to-action to reduce sepsis mortality by 25 percent in the next five years. Launched in October 2002 at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine Meeting in Barcelona, Spain, the Surviving Sepsis campaign is the collaboration of three leading professional organizations in the field of sepsis: the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM); the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM); and the International Sepsis Forum (ISF). The Surviving Sepsis declaration, endorsed by intensive care professionals in the U.S. today, urges governments and healthcare providers to recognize the growing burden of sepsis and to commit to providing adequate resources to combat it. For healthcare professionals, a five-point action plan aims to improve the management of sepsis and save lives by addressing the following:

* Diagnosis - facilitate early and accurate diagnosis through the adoption

of one, single, clear definition of sepsis

* Treatment - ensure appropriate and timely use of treatments and

interventions via consistent clinical protocols

* Referral - recognize universally acceptable referral guidelines in all

countries of the world

* Education - provide leadership, support and information to clinicians

about sepsis management

* Counseling - post-ICU care and counseling for sepsis patients to ensure

continuous quality care by providing a framework for improving and

accelerating access to post-ICU care and counseling for patients.

"The question we're grappling with is not the number of people who die every year from sepsis-related complications. This is a well-documented fact," said Mitchell Levy, MD, FCCP, Governing Council of the SCCM and associate professor of medicine at Brown University School of Medicine. "The real question we are obligated to ask is this: why aren't critical care physicians appropriately adopting and utilizing therapeutic advances in sepsis that are proven to reduce mortality?"

"It is our hope that the Surviving Sepsis campaign will provide us with the momentum we need to more openly debate the complexities involved in sepsis diagnoses and treatment, ultimately leading to the development of sepsis practice guidelines that respect clinical decision-making without compromising human lives."

Often referred to as blood poisoning, sepsis is a syndrome characterized by an overwhelming systemic response by the body to infection, which can rapidly lead to organ failure and ultimately death. Sepsis may cause multiple organs in the body to fail and trigger the onset of both abnormal clotting and bleeding. It can strike anyone but is most likely to develop from infection associated with pneumonia, trauma, surgery, burns or conditions such as cancer and AIDS. In fact, 80 percent of patients that die from major injuries are actually killed by sepsis. For more information about the Surviving Sepsis campaign, please visit:

Source: The Survivng Sepsis Campaign