Sepsis: Fighting A Serious Health and Economic Condition
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Sepsis: Fighting A Serious Health and Economic Condition

Photo by:   Carlos Hernandez
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By Carlos Hernandez - Beckman Coulter Diagnostics
General Manager Mexico Puerto Rico & Caribbean


Sepsis is a growing global healthcare concern that affects millions of people and costs the healthcare industry billions of dollars (U.S.) each year. Let’s review some figures:

  • More than 49 million people are affected by sepsis worldwide.
  • Sepsis has a global mortality rate that ranges from 15 percent to 50 percent, depending on the country. Latin American countries are on the upper end.
  • In the US, one-third of patients who die in a hospital have sepsis.
  • Sepsis is the first cause of hospital readmission in the US, with 20 percent re-hospitalized within 30 days.
  • Among hospitalization costs, sepsis is the No. 1 condition on the list. In the US, the annual costs are more than US$24 billion and increased about 19 percent from 2011 to 2013.

One of the challenges of this condition is that patients get worse very quickly. They move from sepsis to severe sepsis within 72 hours. Early administration of antibiotics can decrease the chance of mortality by 7.6 percent each hour.

This serious condition leads to longer stays in the hospital, mainly in the ICU, which is one of the factors that increase the cost.

Around 85 percent of septic patients enter the healthcare system through the emergency department that triages and diagnoses them; however, frequently the symptoms are vague, and diagnosis is complicated and takes time.

As mentioned, early attention improves the odds for recovery and decreases the costs significantly, so tools that support an early diagnosis are key for patients and for healthcare providers. 

To help with early sepsis detection, Beckman Coulter has created an Early Sepsis Indicator that is reported as part of a routine complete blood count and can provide an earlier alert to possible sepsis or developing sepsis when added to the current standard of care and clinical judgment. This is an FDA-approved tool that we introduced to Mexico this year.

Also, Beckman Coulter has recently been awarded a contract totaling $1.25 million, with potential to be awarded an additional $6.5 million if all contract options are exercised, from the DRIVe (Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures) established by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) under the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The contract will enable Beckman Coulter, in collaboration with Dascena, Inc, to develop and commercialize a novel machine learning-based sepsis detection algorithm. By combining novel lab test parameter values with electronic health record information, the objective for this next-generation analytical algorithm will be to accurately predict and detect sepsis earlier, with the goals of reducing sepsis mortality through earlier intervention and reducing the total cost of care.

Photo by:   Carlos Hernandez

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