Hospitals work to reduce sepsis

Sepsis, an infection that usually results from bacteria in the bloodstream and can result in failure of multiple organ systems, is a potentially preventable cause of illness and death in general surgery patients.

According to an article in the Archives of Surgery, there are three major risk factors for the development of sepsis in hospital patients, including older age, emergency surgery and having one or more comorbidities including diabetes, cancer or obesity.

Methodist Hospital in Houston has implemented a checklist for high risk patients involving four indicators: heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate and blood cell count.  The screening has helped them to reduce the sepsis rate.

(Sources: The Archives of Surgery, http://archsurg.ama-assn.org, July 2010; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, July 21, 2010)