CDC: Sepsis a 'race against time' for healthcare providers

Most patients with sepsis have recently been treated in a healthcare facility, and many clinicians are missing the signs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a Vital Signs report published Tuesday, the CDC found that 7 out of 10 people with sepsis had either recently used healthcare services or had chronic diseases that required frequent medical care. Nearly 80% of patients develop sepsis outside of the hospital setting.

Those statistics mean healthcare providers play a “critical role” in recognizing sepsis early on, and protecting people from infections that can lead to the condition, the CDC said. That role is even bigger for long-term care providers, since adults age 65 years and older and those with chronic medical conditions are more likely to get sepsis.

"When sepsis occurs, it should be treated as a medical emergency," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. He urged families, doctors and nurses to watch and ask “could this be sepsis?”

The CDC urged providers to follow infection control requirements, educate patients and families about sepsis, act fast if symptoms are identified and know the signs and symptoms.

The agency is also taking steps to increase awareness of sepsis among clinical professionals, aligns infection prevention, chronic disease management and antibiotic use, and develop sepsis tracking programs to measure the impact of successful interventions.

Click here to read the CDC's full Vital Signs report on sepsis.