Sepsis: more research needed into 'promising' diagnostic tests, says NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said more research is needed on new tests with the potential to speed up diagnosis of sepsis.

There are 44,000 deaths from sepsis in the UK every year. Bacterial infections are the most common trigger.

The three tests considered by NICE analyse whole blood samples to identify bacterial and fungal DNA. They aim to identify the causes of infection more quickly than traditional microbiological techniques, which require blood samples to be incubated and cultured before pathogens can be identified.

An infection prevention and control toolkit, launched earlier this month by the RCN, the Infection Prevention Society and NHS England flagged up the importance of early diagnosis in preventing deaths from sepsis.

NICE stated that although the tests show promise, further research is needed to provide robust evidence particularly for the value of using the test results to make clinical decisions.