The Particulars: Early identification of septic patients in the ED may allow for earlier treatment and therefore decreased mortality from severe sepsis and septic shock. Researchers have hypothesized that using a sepsis alert system in the ED may enable clinicians to identify sepsis early.

Data Breakdown: For a study, researchers compared the years prior to and after the implementation of a computer-generated visual triage tool. The tool identified adult patients using vital signs with two or more systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria or a systolic blood pressure of less than 90 mm Hg as a sepsis alert. Among septic patients admitted to the ICU, mortality rates decreased from 36.2% to 21.8% for septic shock and from 11.3% to 9.5% for severe sepsis. Overall mortality rates decreased from 21.9% to 16.0%.

Take Home Pearls: Use of a computer-generated ED sepsis alert system appears to statistically significantly decrease mortality among septic shock ICU patients when compared with standard care. Use of the system also appears to help decrease mortality in septic ICU patients.