Remarkable Project

August 24th, 2016

America's Essential Hospitals LogoThe Code Sepsis project at JPS Health Network has been recognized as a 2016 Gage Award Remarkable Project by America’s Essential Hospitals.

With Code Sepsis in place, sepsis patients at John Peter Smith Hospital are diagnosed quicker, treated sooner and spend less time in the hospital, increasing survival and reducing expenses.

Over 30 months, the sepsis project reduced the mortality rate for sepsis patients from 24 percent to 13.7 percent, preventing at least 68 deaths. The length of stay for sepsis patients dropped from 14 days (5.3 of them spent in the Intensive Care Unit) to 10 days (3.9 in the ICU.)

Sepsis is a leading cause of disease-related death in the United States. Between 28 and 50 percent of people who get sepsis will die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the number of cases climbed from 621,000 in 2000 to more than 1.1 million in 2008.

Sepsis is a complication of infection, which could be anything from pneumonia or appendicitis to an infected wound. As the immune system responds to infection, chemicals are released that trigger inflammation in blood vessels, interfering with circulation to vital organs. Treating the underlying infection does not immediately eliminate the danger, because dying bacteria release endotoxins that cause blood pressure to drop, leading to septic shock.

Code Sepsis is a process developed by sepsis clinical coordinator Lori Muhr and a multidisciplinary team from across the network. Code Sepsis is called in the emergency room when a patient arrives with signs of infection along with at least one sign of sepsis (low blood pressure, high serum lactate or evidence of organ dysfunction.)

Within three hours of the patient’s arrival, blood is drawn for culture and the patient receives a broad-spectrum antibiotic and IV fluid to support blood pressure. A second bundle of tests and treatment occurs within six hours.

America’s Essential Hospitals, formerly known as the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health is the leading association of safety net hospitals across the country. The Gage Awards are presented at the association’s annual conference, designed to spread best practices and innovative programs.

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