Do you know how to identify sepsis? Many thousands of patients lose their lives to sepsis every year. Early recognition and treatment are the most important steps to reducing mortality. Here’s how to identify probable sepsis in the field, in 60 seconds or less.
How to Identify Sepsis in Under 60 Seconds
Does your patient have 2 or more of the following signs and symptoms?
- Altered Mental Status
- Tachycardia (HR > 100 bpm)
- Tachypnea (RR > 20 breaths/min)
- Fever > 100.4°F (38°C)
- Hypothermia (T < 96.8°F (36°C))
- Hyperglycemia (BGL > 140 mg/dL (> 7.8 mmol/L) if patient has no Hx of diabetes
If the answer is yes, and the patient has a current or recent history of infection, suspect sepsis and begin treatment per local protocol, which will likely involve fluid resuscitation.
Additionally, the following signs and symptoms are indicators of severe sepsis or possibly, septic shock.
- End Tidal CO2 < 25 mmHg
- Serum Lactate > 2.0 mmol/L
- Hypotension (SBP< 90 mmHg or MAP <65) See my articles about Shock Index and Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP)
So that is sepsis identification in a nutshell. I encourage everyone to learn more about sepsis by visiting the sites included in my reference list.
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Bacterial Sepsis. Medscape. [accessed 2016 Dec 15]. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/234587-overview
Clinical Resources. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016 Aug [accessed 2016 Dec 15]. https://www.cdc.gov/sepsis/clinicaltools/
Mayo Clinic Staff. Sepsis. Mayo Clinic. 2016 Dec 15 [accessed 2016 Dec 15]. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sepsis/home/ovc-20169784
Surviving Sepsis Campaign. Surviving Sepsis Campaign. [accessed 2016 Dec 15]. http://www.survivingsepsis.org/