How Do Steroids Affect Patients in Septic Shock?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

hospital bed CDC image

CDC image

Bala Venkatesh, MBBS, MD(Int.Med), FRCA, FFARCSI, MD(UK), FCICM
Director of Intensive Care, Wesley Hospital
Pre-eminent specialist, Princess Alexandra Hospital
Professor of Intensive Care,University of QLD
Honorary Professor, University of New South WalesProfessorial Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Whether hydrocortisone reduces mortality in patients with septic shock is unclear. The uncertainty about the efficacy of glucocorticoids in reducing mortality in patients with septic shock has resulted in widespread variation in clinical practice

In the results published in the New England Journal of Medicine the investigators found steroids not only reduced the duration of septic shock, they also led to less blood transfusions, and the time spent on life support therapy in intensive care. However, the use of steroids did not lead to fewer deaths overall compared to placebo.

Some of the findings are consistent with previous research whilst other results add new information that will inform clinicians.

Our results show there is still a lot to learn about septic shock which kills up to half of those affected in some parts of the world. There are undoubtedly many other contributors to survival which we don’t yet understand.  Continue reading

Hospital Onset Clostridium difficile Infections Increased With Electronic Sepsis Alerts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Robert Hiensch MD Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Hiensch

Dr. Robert Hiensch MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: New sepsis guidelines that recommend screening and early treatment for sepsis cases appear to have significant positive impacts on patient outcomes. Less research has been published on what potential side effects may result from these guidelines.

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of sepsis treatment and early antibiotic administration is strongly recommended.  We examined whether the introduction of an electronic based sepsis initiative changed antibiotic prescribing patterns at our hospital. Antibiotics, even when appropriate, contribute to hospital onset Clostridium difficile infections (HO CDIs).  While the authors do not dispute the importance of antibiotic administration in sepsis, it is valuable to know whether the sepsis initiative coincided with both increased antibiotic administration and HO CDIs.

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Incidence of Sepsis Stable, But Mortality Remains High

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Chanu Rhee MD, Assistant Professor Therapeutics Research and Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Critical Care and Infectious Disease Physician Transplant/Oncology Infectious Disease service and Medical Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Rhee

Dr. Chanu Rhee MD, Assistant Professor
Therapeutics Research and Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group
Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Critical Care and Infectious Disease Physician
Transplant/Oncology Infectious Disease service and
Medical Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital 


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Multiple studies suggest that the incidence of sepsis, the syndrome of life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by infection, is increasing over time, while mortality rates are decreasing.  However, reliably measuring sepsis incidence and trends is challenging because clinical diagnoses of sepsis are subjective and insurance claims data, the traditional method of surveillance, can be affected by changing diagnosis and coding practices over time.

In this study, my colleagues and I estimated the current U.S. burden of sepsis and trends using clinical data from the electronic health record systems of a large number of diverse hospitals. The findings, published in JAMA, challenge the use of claims data for sepsis surveillance and suggest that clinical surveillance using electronic health record data provides more objective estimates of sepsis incidence and outcomes.

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Rory’s Regulations: Faster Is Better When It Comes To Sepsis Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christopher W. Seymour, M.D., M.Sc. Assistant professor of Critical Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, and member of Clinical Research Investigation and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Seymour

Christopher W. Seymour, M.D., M.Sc.
Assistant professor of Critical Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, and member of Clinical Research Investigation and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Following the tragic and widely publicized death of Rory Staunton, 12, from undiagnosed sepsis in 2012, New York became the first state to require that hospitals follow a protocol to quickly identify and treat the condition. The mandate led to widespread controversy in the medical community as to whether such steps would have saved Rory or anyone else’s life.

Rory’s Regulations require hospitals to follow protocols for early identification and treatment of sepsis, and submit data on compliance and outcomes. The hospitals can tailor how they implement the protocols, but must include a blood culture to test for infection, measurement of blood lactate (a sign of tissue stress) and administration of antibiotics within three hours of diagnosis—collectively known as the “three-hour bundle.”

We analyzed data from nearly 50,000 patients from 149 New York hospitals to scientifically determine if  Rory’s Regulations worked. We found that they did – 83 percent of the hospitals completed the bundle within the required three hours, overall averaging 1.3 hours for completion. For every hour that it took clinicians to complete the bundle, the odds of the patient dying increased by 4 percent.

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EHRs Can Facilitate Rapid Detection and Treatment of Sepsis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Faheem Guirgis MD  Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Research UF Health Jacksonville

Dr. Guirgis

Faheem Guirgis MD
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Department of Emergency Medicine
Division of Research
UF Health Jacksonville

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sepsis is quite prevalent among hospitals and the incidence is increasing. It is a life-threatening disease that can lead to poor outcomes if patients are not recognized and treated promptly. We recognized that our institution needed a strategic approach to the problem of sepsis, therefore the Sepsis Committee was created with the goal of creating a comprehensive sepsis program.

We developed a system for sepsis recognition and rapid care delivery that would work in any area of the hospital. We found that we reduced overall mortality from sepsis, the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit length and overall hospital length of stay, and the charges to the patient by approximately $7000 per patient.

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How Does Emergency Room Crowding Affect Care of Septic Patients?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Medicine Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Anish Agarwal

Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Department of Emergency Medicine
Philadelphia, PA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The morbidity and mortality of severe sepsis has been well studied and documented. An aggressive approach to protocolized care for patients suffering from severe sepsis and septic shock has been shown to improve mortality and should be started as early in the time course of a patient’s presentation. Emergency departments (ED) are designed to deliver time-sensitive therapies, however, they also may suffer from crowding due to multiple factors.

This study aimed to assess the impact of ED crowding upon critical interventions in the treatment of severe sepsis including time to intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and overall delivery of a protocolized bundle of care. The study found that as ED crowding increased, time to critical therapies significantly increased and the overall implementation of procotolized care decreased. More specifically as ED occupancy and total patient hours within the ED increased, time to intravenous fluids decreased and time to antibiotics increased as occupancy, hours, and boarding increased.

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Sepsis Linked To High Rate of Hospital Readmissions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sachin Yende, M.D., M.S., Associate professor University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s departments of Critical Care Medicine and Clinical and Translational and Vice president of Critical Care at the VA Pittsburgh.

Dr. Yende

Sachin Yende, M.D., M.S., Associate professor
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s departments of
Critical Care Medicine and Clinical and Translational and
Vice president of Critical Care at the VA Pittsburgh.

Florian B. Mayr, M.D., M.P.H. Faculty member in University of Pittsburgh Department of Critical Care Medicine and the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

Dr. Mayr

Florian B. Mayr, M.D., M.P.H.
Faculty member in University of Pittsburgh
Department of Critical Care Medicine and the
Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Veteran Health Administration currently track readmission rates for pneumonia, acute heart attacks, heart failure and chronic obstructive lung disease for quality purposes and pay for performance. In our study, we were able to demonstrate that unplanned readmissions after sepsis (defined as life threatening organ failure due to the body’s response to an overwhelming infection) are more common than readmission for these other conditions stated above and associated with significant excess costs.

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Elevated Lactate Linked To Increased Mortality in Children With Sepsis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Halden F. Scott MD, Assistant Professor Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Halden F. Scott

Halden F. Scott MD, Assistant Professor
Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Sepsis, a dysregulated immune response to infection, is a leading cause of death for children. Survival depends on rapid diagnosis and timely delivery of life-saving resuscitative care, including fluids and antibiotics. However, it can be challenging to make an early diagnosis of sepsis in children.

Millions of children present for emergency care of infection and fever every year, most of whom will not develop sepsis. Tools that assist providers in distinguishing the sickest children with infection at an early stage could enable the early delivery of life-saving treatments.

Lactate is a clinically-available laboratory test that has played a critical role in improving the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in adults. Sepsis may cause lactate levels to rise in the blood during sepsis, through reduced delivery of oxygen to the tissues, as well as through changes in how energy is produced and in how lactate is cleared by the kidney and liver. Data about lactate in pediatric sepsis, particularly early levels and whether it is associated with mortality, have been limited.

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Survivors of Sepsis Require Complicated, Coordinated Follow-Up Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jochen Gensichen, MD, MSc, MPH Institute of General Practice and Family Medicine Konrad Reinhart, MD Center of Sepsis Control and Carecopy right for the-photo is with: Michael Fuchs, Remseck

Dr. Jochen Gensichen

Jochen Gensichen, MD, MSc, MPH
Institute of General Practice and Family Medicine

Konrad Reinhart, MD Center of Sepsis Control and Care

Dr. Konrad Reinhart

Konrad Reinhart, MD
Center of Sepsis Control and Care

Jena University Hospital
Friedrich-Schiller-University
School of Medicine
Jena, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Sepsis survivors face multiple long-term sequelae which result in increased primary care needs as a basic support in medication, physiotherapy or mental health. Process of care after discharge from the intensive care unit often is fragmented.

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Point of Care Platform Aims To Detect Sepsis in 90 Minutes

Leo McHugh, Ph.D. Immunexpress Seattle, Washington

Dr. McHugh

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Leo McHugh, Ph.D.
Director, Bioinformatics
Immunexpress
Seattle, Washington 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. McHugh: Sepsis is the leading cause of child mortality in the world, and in developing countries kills more adults than breast cancer, prostate cancer and HIV combined. Approximately 30% of people admitted to ICU have sepsis, and up to 50% of these patients die. It’s a major cost burden also, costing the US health system $17 billion per year. The best way to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes is to detect sepsis early and with confidence, so that appropriate treatments can be applied. Each hour delay in the detection of sepsis has been reported to correspond to an 8% increase in mortality. So the need for a rapid and accurate diagnostic is recognized. Traditional methods rely on detection of the specific pathogen causing the infection, and these methods often take more than 24 hours, and find a pathogen in only 30% of clinically confirmed cases because they’re trying to detect a minuscule amount of pathogen or pathogenic product in the blood. Our approach was to use the host’s own immune system, which is highly tuned to respond to the presence of pathogens. Around 30% of all genes are dysregulated in sepsis, so there is a huge signal base to draw from. The trick with using multi marker host response is to pick out the specific combination of gene expression patterns that cover the broad range of patients that present with sepsis and who may present either early or late in the episode, thus with different gene activation patterns.

This paper describes a simple combination of such genes that can be used to detect sepsis and performs over the full range of patients irrespective of stage of infection or severity of infection. In it’s current format, the test is manual and takes 4-6 hours, and is a great advance on the current tools, however the methods we’ve used are specifically designed to meet requirements to port this assay onto a fully automated Point of Care platform that could deliver a result in under 90 minutes.

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