Mater Researcher involved in launch of National sepsis action plan

Monday 26 March 2018

Every year at least 18,000 Australians are diagnosed with sepsis, with around 5000 losing their lives.  It is known as the silent killer—a life threatening illness that occurs when the body’s response to infection injures tissues and organs. 

Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland (MRI-UQ) Associate Professor Luregn Schlapbach is convinced the national action plan on sepsis recently launched by the Australian Sepsis Network can reduce the number of people who lose their lives each year to sepsis.

The report ‘Stopping Sepsis’ sets out an action plan to drive improvements in the treatment and recovery of patients with sepsis focusing on four key recommendations:

  1. Increasing recognition of sepsis through a national awareness campaign targeting all age groups, including vulnerable groups such as children. More than 50 per cent of sepsis deaths in children occur within 24 hours so it is essential parents are aware of early symptoms and seek urgent medical care.
  2. Providing more community and peer support for survivors of sepsis and their families. Many are left with horrendous life changing conditions, including amputation and PTSD.
  3. Establishing a nationally recognised clinical standard of care for sepsis detection and treatment, and improve in hospital care by establishing dedicated sepsis teams. .
  4. Setting up a national sepsis body to drive and co-ordinate research, to measure the true incidence of sepsis by improving reporting, and to introduce alert systems in hospitals across Australia to ensure treatment starts as early as possible.

Dr Schlapbach said that if diagnosed quickly sepsis could be treated.

“Sepsis can be prevented and, in many cases, can be treated successfully,” Dr Schlapbach said.

“Usually our immune defence protects our body from infections. However in the case of sepsis, the combination of infection with the response to infection can cause harm to our body”.

“We need to ensure that when patients present with symptoms their treatment is commenced as quickly as possible

Sepsis is estimated to cost Australia $1.5 billion each year with many cases beginning in the community rather than in hospitals.

For those that survive, half are left with a disability or impaired function that also impacts their family and friends.

Link to the full report here: