BC Patient Safety & Quality Council
BC Sepsis Network

New Results from BC-Based Study Reinforce
Need of Testing Before Treating Sepsis

A new study published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. David Sweet, Dr. Matthew Cheng and Dr. Rob Stenstrom, from the University of British Columbia, is the first to examine the risk of obtaining blood cultures shortly after antimicrobial treatment, compared to cultures drawn before treatment.


This research found that delivering antibiotic treatment prior to drawing blood cultures to test for infections makes it significantly less likely to identify the cause of illness, reducing the potential to find the best course of treatment. Additionally, testing after treatment resulted in a loss of almost 50% of available clinical information.

How Are We Improving Care?

For British Columbians, these findings provide evidence that bolsters efforts currently underway in the province. The BC Emergency Sepsis Guidelines, created through a provincial Sepsis Clinical Expert Group led by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (BCPSQC), advise emergency departments to draw blood cultures prior to administering antibiotics. The evidence now corroborates this advice.


From 2012-2013, when the guidelines were first published, to 2016-2017, the in-hospital sepsis rate for British Columbia has improved, going from above to below the national average (4.6 to 3.5 cases per 1,000 patients).


“These findings have the potential to save lives,” says Sweet, who is also the Provincial Clinical Lead for the BC Sepsis Network at BCPSQC. “The more we know about how to treat sepsis and septic shock, the better our chances at reducing mortality and morbidity. Now we need to ensure these guidelines are being followed in emergency rooms and hospital wards around the world.”


Read the Article



Questions? Email us: sepsis@bcpsqc.ca
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