Sepsis and Septic Shock

  • Sepsis is a major public health concern. In the United States, sepsis is diagnosed in over one million patients each year. Sepsis is not only expensive, with cost of treatment estimated at $20.3 billion in 2011, the mortality rate for patients diagnosed with sepsis is 28-50%.
  • The incidence of sepsis is increasing. In 2014, 11% of patients discharged from an acute care hospital had a sepsis diagnosis.  The increasing incidence is most likely due to an aging population, greater numbers of patients with multiple comorbidities, and health care providers’ increased recognition and diagnosis.
  • In addition, patients who survive sepsis often have long-term physical, psychological, and cognitive disabilities with significant health care and social implications.
  • While sepsis itself cannot be eradicated, health systems that make an effort to follow an evidence-based protocolized response are able to drastically reduce sepsis mortality.

Strategies and Tools

Evidence-based protocols for rapid and effective treatment of patients identified with severe sepsis and septic shock have been effective in improving care and outcomes for patients with sepsis. Since its original publication of sepsis treatment guidelines in March 2004, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign had been instrumental in promoting best practice. Their 3- and 6-hour bundles are the core of their sepsis care improvement campaign – and those bundles drive sepsis care improvement initiatives world wide.

WSHA, in an effort to provide additional guidance and support, provides education and training events throughout the year – bringing in local, national and international experts to share their research and knowledge about best practice.

In addition, WSHA , with input of subject matter experts, has developed a safety action bundle which can be used to identify opportunities for process improvements that support rapid initiation and completion of the Surviving Sepsis Bundles.

Sepsis Safety Action Bundle -*new* 6/14/2016

Measuring Results

Hospitals measure the results of their efforts through a variety of regulatory submissions.

  • Sepsis (SEP-1) per Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reporting requirements.
  • Post-operative Sepsis (PSI-13) per AHRQ Quality Indicator reporting requirements.
  • Severe Sepsis Mortality based on ICD9 or ICD10 coding as identified via CHARS data.

WSHA reviews sepsis mortality data and provides comparative reports to hospitals to assist them in identifying opportunities for improvement.

Measure Definition Sheet

Useful Links

Presentation – Safe Table Webcast: Sepsis (Part I and II) – Dec. 5, 2014
Link to recorded Webcast

Presentation – Safe Table Webcast: Sepsis (Part III and IV) – Dec. 17, 2014
Link to recorded Webcast

Presentation – The Cure for Sepsis: Dr. Paul Marik speaking at the University of Washington – March 20, 2017


Please SAVE THE DATE for #SepsisInSeattle2018. The conference will be held on June 11-12, 2018 at Kane Hall on the University of Washington Seattle Campus.


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