Wear orange tomorrow for sepsis

Breathing apparatus

It’s time to turn your life orange and help support sepsis.

Tomorrow (27th May) is ‘wear orange’ day, aiming to increase awareness for sepsis. Every year there are 150,000 reported cases of sepsis in the UK, leading to some 44,000 deaths.

Organised by The UK Sepsis Trust (UKST), the day asks people to wear a piece of orange clothing to help raise vital funds for the charity.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition, and occurs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Here at the ambulance service we know it can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death, especially if not recognised early and treated promptly.

At EEAST we are determined to help UKST raise public awareness of the condition, and improve patient outcomes. This is reflected in our Quality Priorities this year, and it remains in our Quality Account.

How does it present?

Sepsis can manifest in a patient in three stages: simple sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock, although this definition is likely to change slightly with the launch of the new NICE guidance in July 2016

Simple sepsis, or SIRS (systemic inflammatory response syndrome), can be recognised when a patient is presenting with two or more of the SIRS criteria. It progresses to severe sepsis when organ dysfunction is also identified. This presents as tissue hypoperfusion and hypotension. Septic shock can be defined as severe sepsis and persistent hypotension, despite the administration of intravenous fluid. It is vital that when any of the SIRS criteria are present in a patient, we recognise and treat them appropriately and in the most timely manner possible.

The SIRS criteria that we can measure are:

  • temperature above 38.3˚C or below 36o
  • heart rate > 90bpm
  • respiratory rate > 20 min
  • acutely altered mental status
  • hyperglycaemia in the absence of diabetes (>7.7mmol/l).

We are currently seeing approximately 80-110 cases every month, not all severe, but crews are doing a great job of spotting it. 

The Trust hopes to do a re-launch and focus on sepsis in early August with the new definition, and will be asking for help from those with an interest shortly. Keep your eyes peeled for updates in Need to Know.

Published 26th May, 2016

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