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Your Healthy Family: UCHealth launching pilot program that can help identify sepsis in patients

One of the reasons sepsis can be deadly is that it can be very hard to diagnose. One of the reasons sepsis can be deadly is that it can be very hard to diagnose.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

On the heels of Saturday’s 4th annual Jeffery Ray Davis Sepsis Challenge 5k at Bear Creek Park, presented by UCHealth Memorial we're talking more about sepsis, its warning signs and treatment.

Deb Breidt, a registered nurse and the director of Clinical Care at UCHealth Memorial, says one of the reasons sepsis can be deadly is that it can be very hard to diagnose.

"Sepsis is the body's overwhelming response to an infection, and it can also be deadly.  Sepsis is difficult to diagnose at times because it has can present with some vague symptoms."

The CDC breaks down the warning signs of sepsis like this.

S - Shivering fever or very cold

E - Extreme pain or general discomfort as in the "worst ever"

P - Pale or discolored skin

S - Sleepy, or difficulty waking up or a state of confusion

I - The feeling of "I might die"

S - Shortness of breath.

Another key warning sign, says Breidt: If you're just not getting better when you should be.

"To help prevent sepsis there needs to be early recognition.  Our goal is to get patients to recognize that if they are getting sicker … to come and seek treatment so we can treat it early. It's easier to treat if we catch it early.  Some of the early treatment is if a patient looks like they're going into sepsis, they need a lot of fluids to help to maintain their blood pressure and then they need better antibiotics more specific antibiotics."

Besides sponsoring events that raise sepsis awareness, like Saturday’s 5k, UCHealth is working to make their providers more aware as well.

"One of the things we are doing at UCHealth Memorial and across UCHealth is we are piloting an early warning system through our electronic medical records.  We have a system in place that will monitor patient vital signs and documentation that the nurse does on the patient, and it can give the patient a score, which will then prompt the nurse to check on this patient.  The system helps providers identify patients who are deteriorating early so they can intervene before the patient who looks bad gets worse and it's more difficult to treat them. The patient deterioration score isn’t specific to sepsis but it is key to helping us identify patients who are developing sepsis, because its onset is so insidious."

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