Fast Emergency Department Identification of Sepsis Speeds Treatment

Released: 2/20/2014 9:00 AM EST
Source Newsroom: National Association for Healthcare Quality
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Citations Journal for Healthcare Quality

Newswise — CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 2014 – Early identification of sepsis cases in the emergency department using a symptoms-based screening tool significantly decreased the time interval for administering life-saving antibiotic treatment, according to research reported in the Journal for Healthcare Quality, the peer reviewed publication of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ, www.nahq.org).

Early recognition and treatment of sepsis has proven to reduce mortality, and there is a need to more rapidly identify sepsis and septic shock patients in the emergency department. Elapsed time from triage to administration of antimicrobials is a major cause of mortality for patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.

At the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, emergency department clinicians piloted a triage tool to identify patients presenting with common sepsis symptoms, such high fever, elevated heart and respiration rates and impaired mental function. Their study was designed to evaluate the benefit of the triage tool for identifying patients presenting in the ED with suspected severe sepsis or septic shock. One cohort was based on a retrospective chart review of ED patients with severe sepsis or septic shock, and a second cohort consisted of patients identified with the new triage tool and from a review of diagnoses from ED admission and discharge charts and death certificates.

Results showed that use of the triage tool significantly decreased the time from ED presentation to antibiotic treatment. The gains in time were most evident between one and four hours after arrival. “The data suggests that very sick patients were identified regardless of the triage method, whereas those with more occult sepsis might preferentially benefit from this tool,” said lead author Catherine Patocka, senior resident, McGill University Hospital Emergency Residency Program.

About the Journal for Healthcare Quality
The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ) is the first choice for creative and scientific solutions in the pursuit of healthcare quality. JHQ is peer reviewed and published six times a year. JHQ publishes scholarly articles targeted to leaders of all healthcare settings, leveraging applied
research and producing practical, timely, and impactful evidence in healthcare system transformation covering topics in: quality improvement, patient safety, performance measurement, best practices in clinical and operational processes, innovation, leadership, information technology, spreading improvement, sustaining improvement, cost reduction, and payment reform.

About NAHQ
Founded in 1976 and covering a full spectrum of healthcare specialties, the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) is an essential and interactive resource for quality and patient safety professionals worldwide. NAHQ’s vision is to realize the promise of healthcare improvement through innovative practices in quality and patient safety.

NAHQ’s 12,000-plus members and certificants benefit from cutting edge education and NAHQ’s unique collective body of knowledge, as well as opportunities to learn from a diverse group of professionals. These resources help assure success for implementing improvements in quality outcomes and patient safety, navigating the changing healthcare landscape, and serving as the voice of quality. Visit www.nahq.org to learn more.

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