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U.S. Clinicians Indicate a Strong Need for New Tools to Combat Sepsis
Date:7/24/2008

Survey shows hospital physicians, pulmonary and critical care clinicians,

and researchers also concerned about overuse of antibiotics

DURHAM, N.C., July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- bioMerieux recently conducted two surveys, fielded during conferences of the American Thoracic Society and Society of Hospital Medicine, that show how hospitalists, pulmonary and critical care physicians, and researchers are unanimous in their view that new methods and technologies are needed to quickly diagnose and combat severe bacterial sepsis in U.S. hospitals.

Sepsis, a usually fatal medical condition generally caused by the body's response to a severe infection of the blood and/or tissues, affects between 5 and 10 percent of all hospital patients, leading to an increase of about $5 billion in U.S. healthcare costs annually.

bioMerieux's 20-minute test to detect levels of procalcitonin (PCT) -- a telltale sign of systemic bacterial infection -- recently received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assess the risk of progression to severe sepsis and septic shock. PCT tests have been used in Europe for years. Nearly all survey respondents said such a test would represent a "dramatic improvement" to the current methods of diagnosis and care for sepsis and suspected sepsis.

Because symptoms of sepsis can be vague and overlap with other diseases, there is no gold standard for diagnosis -- current methods of detection are slow and inaccurate. Of the pulmonary and critical care specialists surveyed, 69 percent viewed overlapping symptoms as the most difficult aspect of diagnosing sepsis. In fact, most clinicians reported starting empiric therapy -- prescribing an antibiotic treatment immediately before an accurate and firm diagnosis is determined -- because the risk of not treating suspected bacterial sepsis is too dangerous. However, according to the surveys, nearly all participating hospitalists and pulmonary and critical care sp
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SOURCE bioMerieux
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