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CDC announces hospital sepsis guidelines to improve survival rates

Dr. Mandy Cohen, former secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, will replace outgoing CDC director Rochelle Walensky.
Bryan Anderson
CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen says sepsis is "taking too many lives."

Sepsis occurs when the body responds improperly to an infection and causes organs to work poorly. More than 350,000 Americans die from sepsis each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released “core elements” for hospitals to improve the diagnose and treatment of sepsis guideline, a serious condition that kills at least 350,000 people annually.

Sepsis occurs when the body responds improperly to an infection and causes organs to work poorly. More than 1.7 million Americans develop sepsis each year.

Many hospitals don’t have the proper programs in place to rapidly respond to sepsis, according to a 2022 survey of hospitals in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Sepsis is taking too many lives. One in three people who die in a hospital has sepsis during that hospitalization,” CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “Rapid diagnosis and immediate appropriate treatment, including antibiotics, are essential to saving lives, yet the challenges of awareness about and recognition of sepsis are enormous. That’s why CDC is calling on all U.S. hospitals to have a sepsis program and raise the bar on sepsis care by incorporating these seven core elements.”

The guidelinesare intended to be a “manager’s guide” to organizing staff and identify the resources that will help bring down sepsis rates and improve survival rates.

They include:

Leadership Commitment: Dedicating the necessary human, financial, and information technology resources.

Accountability: Appointing a leader responsible for program outcomes and setting concrete program goals.

Multiprofessional expertise: Engaging key partners throughout the organization.

Action: Implementing structures and processes to improve the identification of, management of, and recovery from sepsis.

Tracking: Measuring sepsis epidemiology, outcomes, progress toward program goals, and the impact of sepsis initiatives.

Reporting: Providing usable information on sepsis treatment and outcomes to relevant partners.

Education: Providing sepsis education to healthcare professionals during onboarding and annually.

“The development of a multi-disciplinary hospital sepsis program is critical to diagnose and treat sepsis monitoring and improving the management and outcomes of patients with sepsis,” the agency said in a news release.

Hospital quality improvement programs focused on sepsis have been associated with reductions in hospital mortality, length of stay and health care costs, the CDC reported.

I’m the online producer for Health News Florida, a collaboration of public radio stations and NPR that delivers news about health care issues.