DMH News

Decatur Memorial Hospital Sets New Standard in Reducing Deaths From Sepsis and Septic Shock


September 10, 2010, DECATUR, IL — Decatur Memorial Hospital has set a new standard for treating patients suffering from sepsis and septic shock, and these standards are directly reducing the number ofassociated deaths within the hospital.

Sepsis is a condition in which the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream, often causing organs to fail and systems to shut down. DMH has introduced a “bundle” of strategies to fight off the potentially life-threatening effects of sepsis.

The sepsis bundle consists of 11 elements that provide consistency in recognizing and treating sepsis. These include specialized blood testing, administration of antibiotics, fluids, and other medications, tight blood sugar control and protecting the lungs with a standardized ventilator strategy.

A multidisciplinary team has been assembled to implement the sepsis bundle at DMH. This team includes physicians from Emergency Medicine, Infectious Disease, Pulmonology, and the DMH Hospitalist program. Others on the team include Nursing from Emergency and Intensive Care, Pharmacy, Decision Support, Six Sigma, and Administration.

“Introducing the sepsis bundle at DMH has reduced the number of sepsis-related deaths within the hospital to 17 percent compared to a national average of 45 percent,” said Steven Arnold, M.D., Physician Champion of the sepsis initiative at DMH.

Facts about Severe Sepsis:

  • There are more than 18 million cases of severe sepsis worldwide each year.
  • Severe sepsis kills approximately 1,400 people worldwide every day.
  • Severe sepsis strikes an estimated 750,000 people each year in the U.S. with this number expected to rise to nearly 1 million people by 2020.
  • More people die from severe sepsis in one year in the U.S. than from breast cancer, lungncancer, and colon cancer combined.
  • In the U.S., severe sepsis is the leading cause of death in the non-coronary ICU.
  • Annually, $16.7 billion is spent in the U.S. for the treatment of severe sepsis.
  • Awareness of the seriousness of severe sepsis remains low -- it is frequently underdiagnosed at an early stage when it is still potentially reversible. Many patients not receiving aggressive therapy early in their course, later are referred to the intensive care unit hours after their initial presentations.