Mortality rises in hours if physicians don’t follow sepsis protocol

Physicians have resisted stricter guidelines on early screening and treatment of sepsis, arguing there isn’t enough evidence the extra effort benefits patients—which is precisely what a new study of New York hospitals provides.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine and summarized by STAT, the study of 49,000 patients across 149 New York hospitals found that for every hour clinicians failed to complete the “three-hour bundle” protocol, there was a 3 to 4 percent increase in mortality rates.

“Our data shows that hospitals really need to do this at the outset, especially at the emergency department when they suspect sepsis,” said Christopher Seymour, MD,  lead author of the study and a critical care specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “It can be lifesaving.”

Other clinicians, however, doubted the results, saying the data fails to assuage their concerns about overprescribing antibiotics.

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