Early recognition of sepsis through emergency medical services pre-hospital screening

Published:October 20, 2018DOI:



      The Surviving Sepsis Campaign implemented a 3-hour bundle including blood cultures, lactate, intravenous fluids, and antibiotics to improve mortality in sepsis. Though difficult to achieve, bundle compliance is associated with decreased hospital mortality. We predict that the implementation of an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) sepsis screening tool will improve 3-hour bundle compliance.


      To determine if pre-hospital sepsis screening improves 3-hour bundle compliance.


      Prospective implementation of an EMS sepsis screening tool (June 2016–November 2016) was compared to a historical control (August 2015–March 2016). The protocol was facilitated via communication between nurses and EMS personnel. The primary outcome was 3-hour bundle compliance. Secondary outcomes included time to individual bundle components.


      Of 135 patients screened, 20 were positive and included in the study, and subsequently compared to 43 control patients. Baseline demographics were similar, except median Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score was higher for the pre-EMS tool group (5 [interquartile range (IQR) 2–8] vs. 2 [IQR 1–4], p < 0.01). Three-hour bundle compliance was significantly higher in the EMS tool group (80% vs. 44.2%, p < 0.01). The pre-EMS tool group had lower median time to lactate (15 [IQR 0–35] vs. 46 min [IQR 34–57], p < 0.001), 30 mL/kg IV fluids (6.5 [IQR 0–38] vs. 46 min [IQR 27.5–72], p < 0.001), and, although not significant, antibiotics (63.5 [IQR 44–92] vs. 72 min [IQR 59.5–112], p = 0.26).


      Implementation of an EMS sepsis screening tool resulted in improved 3-hour bundle compliance compared to retrospective control.


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