Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Recognizes Sepsis Awareness Month

Posted on Sep 7, 2017

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are more than 1.5 million cases of sepsis a year in the United States, and up to 250,000 deaths. Sepsis is the 10th most common cause of death for Americans, yet, nearly 30 percent have never heard of it.

“Sepsis is the number one cause of mortality in our medical center,” says Denise Navellier, R.N., Alta Bates Summit Chief Nursing Executive and Sespis Initiative Executive Sponsor. “The overwhelming engagement in our sepsis initiative by our front line staff and providers has been the key to success in decreasing the overall mortality.”

What is Sepsis? 

Sepsis is caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection. Sepsis can cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death. It is difficult to diagnose, easily missed, can happen quickly, and is a medical emergency.

Who is at risk?

The populations most at risk are people 65 years and older or those younger than 1 year, immunocompromised, burn or trauma victims, and/or those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, kidney, or liver disease. But ANYONE can get sepsis.

What causes Sepsis?

Infection from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and/or parasites can lead to sepsis. The four most common infections associated with sepsis are respiratory, abdominal, urinary tract, and skin.

What are the common signs and symptoms?

  • Fever, chills, or feeling very cold
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion/slurred speech/fatigue
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Low urine output
  • Extreme pain or discomfort

Sepsis Facts:

  • Every year, there are over one million new severe sepsis cases in the U.S.
  • Sepsis is the most expensive condition treated in US hospitals – $24 billion in 2013
  • Survival from sepsis drops 8 percent with every hour that treatment is delayed
  • More than 1 in 5 patients with sepsis are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days

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