Early identification of sepsis is critical to improving patient outcomes. Impact of the new sepsis definition (Sepsis-3) on timing of recognition in the emergency department has not been evaluated. Our study objective was to compare time to meeting systemic inflammatory response syndrome (Sepsis-2) criteria, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (Sepsis-3) criteria, and quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment criteria using electronic health record data.
Retrospective, observational study.
The emergency department at the University of California, San Francisco.
Emergency department encounters between June 2012 and December 2016 for patients greater than or equal to 18 years old with blood cultures ordered, IV antibiotic receipt, and identification with sepsis via systemic inflammatory response syndrome or Sequential Organ Failure Assessment within 72 hours of emergency department presentation.
Measurements and Main Results:
We analyzed timestamped electronic health record data from 16,612 encounters identified as sepsis by greater than or equal to 2 systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria or a Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score greater than or equal to 2. The primary outcome was time from emergency department presentation to meeting greater than or equal to 2 systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment greater than or equal to 2, and/or greater than or equal to 2 quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment criteria. There were 9,087 patients (54.7%) that met systemic inflammatory response syndrome-first a median of 26 minutes post-emergency department presentation (interquartile range, 0–109 min), with 83.1% meeting Sequential Organ Failure Assessment criteria a median of 118 minutes later (interquartile range, 44–401 min). There were 7,037 patients (42.3%) that met Sequential Organ Failure Assessment-first, a median of 113 minutes post-emergency department presentation (interquartile range, 60–251 min). Quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment was met in 46.4% of patients a median of 351 minutes post-emergency department presentation (interquartile range, 67–1,165 min). Adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality were 39% greater in patients who met systemic inflammatory response syndrome-first compared with those who met Sequential Organ Failure Assessment-first (odds ratio, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.20–1.61).
Systemic inflammatory response syndrome and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment initially identified distinct populations. Using systemic inflammatory response syndrome resulted in earlier electronic health record sepsis identification in greater than 50% of patients. Using Sequential Organ Failure Assessment alone may delay identification. Using systemic inflammatory response syndrome alone may lead to missed sepsis presenting as acute organ dysfunction. Thus, a combination of inflammatory (systemic inflammatory response syndrome) and organ dysfunction (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment) criteria may enhance timely electronic health record-based sepsis identification.