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Study Reports Death due to Sepsis is Declining

Update Date: Nov 14, 2013 08:44 PM EST

Sepsis occurs when the body reacts to bacteria or other types of germs in a severe and negative way. Sepsis, which involves symptoms such as chills, fever, delirium, shaking and rapid heartbeat, can be fatal and needs medical treatment usually in the intensive care unit. In a new report, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) found that the sepsis mortality rate has fallen over the past two decades even though no new technology has been created for treating sepsis more effectively.

For this study, the research team analyzed the medical data of patients who had severe sepsis and were enrolled in clinical trials. The data came from 36 multicenter clinical trials that occurred between 1991 and 2009. From 1991 to 1995, the mortality rate for patients with sepsis in hospitals was 47 percent. That number dropped to 29 percent between 2006 and 2009. During the elapsed time, the researchers noted that there were no new pharmacological treatments for the treatment of sepsis.

"Even without new drugs or technologies to treat severe sepsis, our study suggests that improving the ways in which we recognize and deliver care to patients with severe sepsis could decrease mortality rates by a magnitude similar to new effective drug," said the senior author, Allan J. Walkey, MD, MSc according to Medical Xpress. Walkey is an assistant professor of medicine at BUSM and an attending physician, pulmonary, critical care and allergy medicine at BMC.

The researchers believe that the drop in severe sepsis mortality rate could be attributed to how patients are being treated. The researchers reasoned that the decline could be due to the improvements in hospitals when it comes to processing care and working with current treatments in a more efficient way. The researchers noted that more research would need to be done in order to determine what could be responsible for the decline in the severe sepsis mortality rate.

The study was published in Critical Care Medicine.

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