On September 13th, CHRISTUS Health, based in Irving, joined the global observance of World Sepsis Day by shedding light on the importance of understanding sepsis, its early detection, intervention, and key indicators.
Sepsis is the body's severe response to an infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1.7 million adults in the United States will develop sepsis, and tragically, 350,000 of them will lose their lives during hospitalization.
Ashliegh Burns, BSN, RN, Program Director Clinical Variations for CHRISTUS Health, stressed the critical role of early sepsis detection in saving lives. She emphasized the need to recognize sepsis and its potential signs, which may manifest in vital signs, changes in mental status, or symptoms similar to an infectious process, such as coughing or shortness of breath.
Burns outlined key symptoms of sepsis, using the acronym TIME: Temperature (abnormal highs or lows), Infection signs and symptoms, Mental decline (confusion or drowsiness), and Extreme illness.
She emphasized that spotting a combination of these warning signs is crucial, and immediate medical attention, including calling 911, is essential.
Left untreated, sepsis can lead to serious complications such as blood clots and reduced blood flow to vital organs like the brain, heart, and kidneys, potentially resulting in death. Burns warned that a person's risk of death from sepsis increases by as much as 8% for every hour that treatment is delayed.
CHRISTUS Health's emergency departments have established a sepsis screening protocol to identify patients at higher risk for sepsis during the triage process. Experts from the healthcare system encourage everyone to recognize World Sepsis Day and familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of sepsis to promote early intervention and save lives.