Preventing Sepsis By Reimagining Systems And Engaging Patients

Health Affairs
By Charlotte Huff
May 2019

A new early warning system at Texas Children’s Hospital is giving teams of providers additional tools to save lives by preventing sepsis.

The sprawling hospital system is on the front lines of a growing national effort by pediatric clinicians to better thwart the deaths and organ damage caused by sepsis. The life-threatening condition is not an infection but rather the body’s extreme and toxic reaction to an infection, whether that’s bacterial, viral, or fungal. For reasons that are still unclear, the body will occasionally launch an over-the-top inflammatory response, releasing chemicals into the bloodstream that can cause significant strain on the blood vessels and major organs.1 Between 8 percent and 21 percent of children with sepsis die, sometimes within only a handful of days, according to one frequently cited 2014 study in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.2