Sepsis can be a difficult condition to diagnose thanks in part to non-specific criteria; the definitions of sepsis and septic shock were last revised in 2001. This February, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published “The Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3)” to evaluate and update these definitions. (The definitions can be accessed at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2492881.)
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 35 – No 07 – July 2016
But how accurate are these definitions, and are they useful in clinical EM practice? ACEP Now medical editor-in-chief Dr. Kevin Klauer recently had a conversation with physicians who work with septic patients and are involved with sepsis survival care to get their opinions.
Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, chief medical officer–emergency medicine and chief risk officer for TeamHealth, executive director of the TeamHealth Patient Safety Organization, and medical editor-in-chief for ACEP Now
KK: We know that there were new sepsis definitions launched and published in February. What was the primary reason for drafting these new definitions?
DY: A group of experts primarily in critical care medicine from Europe and the United States had noted that it had been over a decade since the working definitions of sepsis in place had been evaluated. The experts found strengths and weaknesses with the previous definitions. It began not as a scheduled but as a not-surprising relook at a set of conditions.
KK: I appreciate that extra detail. Was there some critical event that happened, perhaps with the ProCESS [Protocolized Care for Early Septic Shock] trial? Do you think there was really something critical that happened that forced people to take a look and reevaluate?