According to an article published in CLP Magazine, cases of sepsis are increasing across the US, and new guidelines and advanced tests enable earlier diagnosis and improved patient outcomes.
Sepsis is one of the most important causes of mortality in the United States, leading to nearly 260,000 deaths each year. It is also the nation’s most expensive hospital-treated condition, with costs to the healthcare system exceeding $20 billion each year and accounting for almost 7% of all Medicare costs.
The incidence of sepsis has been increasing, particularly in inpatient settings. It is critical that causes of sepsis be identified rapidly so that targeted therapy can be initiated in a timely manner. Recent advances in bacterial, fungal, and viral detection methods have become important tools in the fight against sepsis.
The two most commonly used biomarkers for diagnosing infections that may lead to sepsis are C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT). CRP is not sufficiently specific for diagnosing sepsis, as it can also become elevated as a result of a number of other conditions, such as autoimmune disease, burns, cancer, cardiovascular disease, surgery, and trauma. PCT is a biomarker whose levels increase precipitously in patients with severe bacterial infection. It elevates prior to rises in lactic acid and is more specific for sepsis. Therefore, it is an important aid in the diagnosis of sepsis.