An Updated Definition for Sepsis and Septic Shock in Adults

Rory Staunton Foundation, Rory Staunton, Sepsis, Sepsis Awareness, Sepsis Education, Sepsis Prevention, National Family Council, Education And Awareness, Definition

The Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention and the National Family Council on Sepsis today welcomed the release of new sepsis definitions by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine.

The new sepsis definitions are evidence driven, which the SCCM believe will make it easier for doctors to detect septic patients and provide a faster way for patients to receive lifesaving treatment including antibiotics and IV fluids. The SIRS criteria, previously used by both groups for diagnosis, has been replaced by a qSOFA score which will also help government agencies track sepsis. The qSOFA score will focus on the following three signs for sepsis identification: alteration in mental status, low blood pressure and increased respiratory rate (2 of 3) in addition to the signs of an infection.

The rapid identification of sepsis is crucial to survival as sepsis is a life-threatening condition and failure to provide antibiotics and IV fluids means that when the patient enters septic shock they lose 8% of their body function every hour.

“Our children would be alive today if they had been identified as having sepsis and if they had received broad spectrum antibiotics and fluids.” Orlaith Staunton of Rory Staunton Foundation stated “it is imperative that every family know the signs of sepsis and particularly now during flu season, if your child or loved one has an infection and develops one of the following: is very cold to touch, has rapid breathing, is lethargic,  has had no urine function for more than 12 hours or has mottled skin you should seek immediate care.”

“Without treatment, death can follow very quickly” said Ann Ceschin of the National Family Council on Sepsis whose daughter Katie died from undiagnosed sepsis in January 2015. Katie became sick on Monday December 29th with what sounded like a head cold and despite visits to her doctor and the emergency room Katie died at 1.19am on Friday, January 2nd.