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What Is The Sepsis Six Care Pathway?

What Is The Sepsis Six Care Pathway?

The sepsis six care pathway is a part of the UK Sepsis Trust's recommended approach to diagnosing and treating sepsis. The UK Sepsis Trust is dedicated to reducing the number of people who die unnecessarily from sepsis in the UK each year.

Sepsis assessment and action

Currently, approximately 250,000 people are thought to develop sepsis each year in the UK, with over 40,000 dying from it. Of those deaths, it is believed that approximately 10,000 could be prevented with earlier diagnosis and treatment.

The Sepsis Trust protocol recommends that medical practitioners carry out prompt assessment and, where a patient appears to be particularly unwell, to ask themselves the question: 'Could it be sepsis?'.

If any of the following red flag symptoms are present, the 'Sepsis Screening and Action Tool' states that emergency treatment should be initiated immediately.

Red flag symptoms of sepsis

Red flag symptoms suggest that immediate action is required. The following red flag symptoms might indicate that the patient is developing sepsis:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing rate
  • Unresponsive
  • Low urine output

A quick, reduced version of sepsis assessment which can be used as an early indicator, especially for patient s in out-of-hospital settings is also recommended by some specialists. This assessment requires a measurement of the patient's mental state as well as their blood pressure and rate of breathing as indicators that the patient might be developing sepsis.

Sepsis Six

Where one of the above symptoms is present, the UK Sepsis Trust recommends the immediate implementation of the sepsis six actions:

  • Give the patient oxygen to maintain levels
  • Give intravenous antibiotics
  • Take blood cultures to identify the source of the underlying infection
  • Give intravenous fluids
  • Check lactate levels
  • Monitor urine levels

These recommendations are supported by the International Guidelines on the Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock which suggest the use of intravenous antibiotics within one hour of diagnosis, along with an assessment of the source of infection.

Failure to diagnose sepsis

A delay in diagnosing sepsis can greatly reduce the patient's chances of surviving the illness.

The mortality rate of this appalling illness is high and, even where the patient survives, they may suffer significant physical effects, such as the amputation of a limb.

Clearly, early diagnosis is crucial to the patient's long-term outcome.

Medical negligence

If you or a loved one are suffering the long-term impact of sepsis due to a failure to diagnose the condition in a timely manner, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Contact us to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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