Targeted efforts continue across the Sutter Health network to promote the early detection and treatment of sepsis—a serious bloodstream infection that is the most common cause of death nationwide for patients who die at the hospital.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening illness that overwhelms the blood stream with bacteria. It is caused by an infection that can start anywhere in the body. More than 750,000 patients develop sepsis each year in the United States, and about 40 percent die from it. For patients with a weakened immune system or other medical problems, a sepsis infection is particularly dangerous. In severe cases, blood pressure drops, prompting the body to go into shock, which may lead to organ failure. Early treatment of sepsis improves a patient’s chance for recovery.
How does Sutter Health protect patients?
- Sepsis bundles—a series of checklists and recommendations for health care providers to follow—are being implemented systemwide, especially in emergency departments, intensive care units, and medical-surgical units. These are the hospital departments where most cases of severe sepsis originate.
- Multidisciplinary care teams from 20 Sutter-affiliated hospitals have participated in a sepsis summit and collaborative meeting hosted by Sutter Health. The teams discussed the nature of sepsis and strategies for early detection and treatment. As a result, the hospital teams have established sepsis task forces to protect patients and save lives.
- A multidisciplinary group of clinicians at Sutter Health has developed a list of recommended systemwide measurements to monitor and track the success of sepsis management efforts.
How are we doing?
Across the Sutter Health system, cases of sepsis are decreasing. For example:
- Sutter Roseville Medical Center has seen a nearly 50 percent drop in the patient mortality rate related to sepsis.
- At five other Sutter Health affiliates, health care professionals have reduced the rate of severe sepsis by an average of 17 percent. These facilities are Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Eden Medical Center/San Leandro Hospital, Novato Community Hospital and Mills-Peninsula Health Services.