Sepsis is definitely the number one killer of patients in my medical/surgical ICU. Most of our patients come in because of some kind of infection that their bodies cannot fight on their own. Usual symptoms that these types of patients exhibit are tachycardia (high heart rate), fever, and hypotension (low blood pressure). We place patients on vasopressor medications (medications to increase blood pressure) and on antibiotics. Then we wait to see if their bodies will recover from the infection or if they will continue to get worse. This article is about a biomarker than can be identified to show whether or not patients have bacteria in their blood (in other words "sepsis").

Thousands of lives could be saved as scientists discover two-hour test to identify blood poisoning

16 Oct 2013 22:42

The life-threatening condition of sepsis kills 37,000 patients a year and costs the NHS millions of pounds in care

Dr Ron Daniels, UK Sepsis Trust Chief Executive

Dr Ron Daniels, UK Sepsis Trust Chief Executive

Thousands of lives could be saved with a new blood test that can spot sepsis in less than two hours, it was revealed tonight.

The life-threatening condition kills 37,000 patients a year and costs the NHS millions of pounds in care.

At the moment it takes days to analyse blood samples which means many patients are often diagnosed late.

Now scientists have discovered a biomarker in blood that can identify sepsis at the bedside in two hours.

Prof Graham Lord, director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, said: “Sepsis is a hidden killer, causing nearly a third of all hospital deaths.

“Rapid antibiotic treatment for the condition is vital - every minute counts. Yet current diagnostic methods can take up to two days, so an accurate diagnostic test that can be carried out at the patient’s bedside is urgently needed.

“We have for the first time identified a group of biomarkers in the blood that are good indicators of sepsis.

“We have shown that it is possible to detect these markers by screening a patient’s blood in the ward, a process which can deliver results within two hours.

"This is an extremely exciting development which has the potential to completely transform the management of this severe disease and save thousands of lives worldwide every year.”

AuthorCourtney Tracy