There are more than 1½ million hospital admissions each year attributed to sepsis, with nearly one-third of those patients dying. Although many seek outpatient care before their hospitalization, little is known about the circumstances surrounding these clinic visits.

Miller and colleagues conducted retrospective chart reviews and found 10% of adult patients admitted with sepsis sought clinic care on the day of or the day before their hospital admission, and of those:

  • Eighty percent had symptoms of infection or sepsis such as fatigue, fever, and decreased oral intake.

  • Most (65%) had abnormal vital signs and/or an elevated severity illness score.

  • A majority (63%) were referred directly to the emergency department or hospital.

With the aim to improve sepsis care, the authors recommend development of algorithms to assist outpatient providers in identifying high-risk patients who would benefit from accelerated transfer to the emergency department.

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