The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the majority of sepsis infections begin outside of hospital settings and could be avoided with emphasis on prevention in certain groups.

“Sepsis is a medical emergency and we can protect more people by informing patients and families, by empowering them to ask, ‘Could this be sepsis?,’ by treating infections promptly, and by preventing infections when possible, and acting fast when sepsis does occur,” Tom Frieden, MD, said.

Eight out of 10 (79.4%) patients hospitalized for sepsis were classified as having sepsis onset outside the hospital in a retrospective medical record review conducted by Epstein’s group.

Seven in 10 sepsis patients had visited their doctor, or used other healthcare services, soon before hospitalization or had chronic diseases that required frequent medical care, highlighting the need for greater sepsis prevention efforts in outpatient medical care.

“We find — and this is surprising to many people who work in this field — that sepsis begins outside the hospital for nearly 80% of patients,” Frieden said. “We have been focusing on, and making progress, in reducing sepsis within hospitals — in intensive care units, long-term care facilities, and elsewhere.”

He noted that the findings in the new report show that outpatient healthcare providers are on the front lines of sepsis prevention and early recognition.

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