Sepsis Alliance Issues Statement on New Sepsis Definitions by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM)

March 28, 2016

Changes bring welcome attention to sepsis, the leading cause of death in hospitals. Scientific and medical community asked to change the way sepsis is defined.

San Diego, California March 28, 2016 – The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine recently released a consensus statement proposing to re-define the clinical syndrome of sepsis. The new diagnostic criteria eliminate the concept of the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS), instead relying on known or suspected infection accompanied by new or worsening organ failure.

According to the new recommendations, sepsis would be defined as a life-threatening organ dysfunction due to a dysregulated host response to infection. Septic shock will be defined as a subset of sepsis in which particularly profound circulatory, cellular, and metabolic abnormalities substantially increase mortality. “Severe sepsis” as a category is to be removed from the lexicon.

Sepsis Alliance applauds the increased attention brought to sepsis, a disease that is little known by the public and one that has not been given adequate focus or attention by the healthcare community. As an organization, we look forward to seeing how the new definitions will be adopted and, more importantly, how they help to improve patient outcomes.

While SA has some concerns how patients will be helped by these definitions, SA calls on the medical community and government agencies to continue tracking outcomes to ensure that these definitions result in a further decline in the sepsis mortality rates. SA also sees a gap in the new definitions, as there is no mention of the large pediatric community at risk from sepsis.

As a patient advocacy organization, Sepsis Alliance focuses on raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. SA stresses that sepsis is a disease that requires early diagnosis and rapid treatment in order to save lives and prevent injury. While the number of sepsis cases continues to rise, there has been an encouraging recent reduction in mortality rates.

SA recognizes that the treatment of sepsis is a work in progress, and we appreciate the significant work and commitment to improved care that drove these new recommendations.

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About Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the leading nonprofit patient advocacy organization in North America. Sepsis Alliance’s mission is to save lives by raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. The organization hosts national and community events, distributes educational information, and promotes training and education on sepsis prevention and early recognition and treatment. Sepsis Alliance also support sepsis survivors and family members with information about sepsis and Post Sepsis Syndrome, as well as a Faces of Sepsis community forum. The website receive 1 million visits each year. Sepsis Alliance, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is a GuideStar Gold Rated Charity. For more information, please visit