Guideline targets faster diagnosis of sepsis

NICE wants all healthcare professionals to recognise sepis as an 'immediate, life-threatening condition'

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has called on all health professionals to recognise sepsis as an ‘immediate life-threatening condition’, as it announced draft guidance on its diagnosis. 

More than 123,000 people were diagnosed with sepsis in England last year and it kills an estimated 37,000 people each year. If it is recognised early, people can quickly receive the right treatment, but the signs and symptoms can vary. 

The recent National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) revealed delays in identifying sepsis in more than a third (36%) of cases.

The guideline, which has been published for consultation, covers the recognition, diagnosis and early management of sepsis in patients of all ages. 

This includes which clinical tests to use to diagnose and monitor sepsis, when to refer people for emergency care and how to use antibiotics and other treatments such as fluids and oxygen.

It recommends healthcare professionals suspect sepsis when a patient's signs or symptoms suggest possible infection. They should assess temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, systolic blood pressure, level of consciousness and oxygen saturation in young people and adults with suspected sepsis, it says.

NICE director of the centre for clinical practice Mark Baker said: ‘We want all healthcare professionals to see sepsis as an immediate life-threatening condition and make sure there are systems in place across the NHS for it to be recognised and treated as an emergency. 

‘This new guideline will be the first to provide evidence-based best practice advice on how to quickly identify and treat people with sepsis. 

‘We urge all healthcare professionals and organisations with an interest in this area to comment on the proposed recommendations.’

The consultation runs until February 22 and organisations can register as stakeholders on the NICE website. Individuals are advised to add their comments via a registered stakeholder organisation. 

To read the guideline click here.



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