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NICE Guidance on Sepsis


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22 Jul 2016

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has welcomed new guidance on recognising and treating sepsis, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE].

The NICE guidance calls on health professionals to think about the possibility of sepsis in all patients who may have an infection and includes a checklist of signs and symptoms and details on what to do next.

In addition, advice for members of the surgical team includes;

  • Consider the possibility of sepsis when there are signs of potential infection, including redness, swelling or discharge at surgical site or breakdown of wound.
  • Recognise that those who have undergone surgery or invasive procedures in the past 6 weeks are at moderate to high risk of severe illness of death from sepsis.
  • Involve the adult or paediatric surgical and gynaecological teams early on if intra-abdominal or pelvic infection is suspected in case surgical treatment is needed.
  • Ensure people who are at increased risk of sepsis (for example after surgery) are told before discharge about symptoms that should prompt them to get medical attention and how to get it.

RCSEd President Mr Michael Lavelle-Jones said;

“Sepsis accounts for 44,000 deaths annually in the UK, which is the equivalent of one every five minutes. The UK Sepsis Trust estimate that 13,500 lives could be saved if the NHS accepts sepsis as a medical emergency and clinical priority. As such we welcome the latest NICE guidance which would see sepsis treated in the same way as heart attacks.”

The full guidance can be found here.


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