Rapid identification of sepsis in the emergency department.

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OBJECTIVES: Recent research has helped define the complex pathways in sepsis, affording new opportunities for advancing diagnostics tests. Given significant advances in the field, a group of academic investigators from emergency medicine, intensive care, pathology, and pharmacology assembled to develop consensus around key gaps and potential future use for emerging rapid host response diagnostics assays in the emergency department (ED) setting.

METHODS: A modified Delphi study was conducted that included 26 panelists (expert consensus panel) from multiple specialties. A smaller steering committee first defined a list of Delphi statements related to the need for and future potential use of a hypothetical sepsis diagnostic test in the ED. Likert scoring was used to assess panelists agreement or disagreement with statements. Two successive rounds of surveys were conducted and consensus for statements was operationally defined as achieving agreement or disagreement of 75% or greater.

RESULTS: Significant gaps were identified related to current tools for assessing risk of sepsis in the ED. Strong consensus indicated the need for a test providing an indication of the severity of dysregulated host immune response, which would be helpful even if it did not identify the specific pathogen. Although there was a relatively high degree of uncertainty regarding which patients would most benefit from the test, the panel agreed that an ideal host response sepsis test should aim to be integrated into ED triage and thus should produce results in less than 30 minutes. The panel also agreed that such a test would be most valuable for improving sepsis outcomes and reducing rates of unnecessary antibiotic use.

CONCLUSION: The expert consensus panel expressed strong consensus regarding gaps in sepsis diagnostics in the ED and the potential for new rapid host response tests to help fill these gaps. These finding provide a baseline framework for assessing key attributes of evolving host response diagnostic tests for sepsis in the ED.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Emergency Medicine

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