The diagnosis and treatment of sepsis – what you need to know

Some of the common signs and symptoms of sepsis infection include:

  • fever to include a high or low temperature
  • a raised heart rate
  • a raised breathing rate
  • a low blood pressure
  • a reduction in urine
  • altered mental state

What is the correct treatment for suspected sepsis?

When more mild symptoms of infection are present, further tests should be arranged to include blood tests to look for markers of inflammation and clotting abnormalities and a person should be reviewed by a doctor within an hour.

If more severe symptoms of infection are present, sepsis should be suspected, and the ‘sepsis pathway’ implemented immediately.

The sepsis pathway includes:

  • administering oxygen to ensure that the amount of oxygen in the blood stays at a healthy level;
  • taking blood cultures to try and identify the presence of bacteria in the blood;
  • giving intravenous antibiotics within 1 hour;
  • giving intravenous fluids within 1 hour;
  • testing lactate levels (lactate is produced by the body during periods of oxygen deprivation and trauma); and
  • measuring urine output.

If a person is still not improving after delivering the sepsis pathway, then the critical care outreach team should be called immediately.

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