CDC launches new sepsis initiative for US hospitals

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday announced the launch of a new initiative aimed at supporting sepsis teams at U.S. hospitals in light of new data that found a third of patients who die in hospitals had sepsis while hospitalized.

The CDC’s Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements will act as a “manager’s guide” on how to organize staff and identify resources needed for bringing sepsis rates down, the agency said.

The initiative listed seven elements of a strong sepsis program: leadership commitment, accountability, multi-professional expertise, action, tracking, reporting, and education.

Sepsis occurs when the body’s immune system responds to an infection in an extreme way, causing damage to tissues and organs. This condition can be caused by almost any type of infection and often occurs in health care settings.

“Sepsis is taking too many lives. 1 in 3 people who dies in a hospital has sepsis during that hospitalization,” CDC Director 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.”

According to a survey shared by the CDC of more than 5,000 hospitals, while 73 percent of hospitals have sepsis committees, only a little more than half of these locations give sepsis program leaders the time needed for proper management.

About 1.7 million U.S. adults develop sepsis every year, and 350,000 of them either die during hospitalization or are moved to hospice care.

In 2021, former President Clinton was briefly hospitalized in California after an infection led to sepsis. Clinton was discharged a few days later after receiving IV antibiotics and fluids.

The launch of this new program comes shortly before Sepsis Awareness Month in September.

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