A LIFESAVING two-and-a-half minute test for deadly sepsis has been developed by scientists.
The new check could be rolled out across the NHS within three years – and stop thousands of deaths, researchers claim.
It currently takes up to 72 hours to diagnose the killer condition, which costs 52,000 lives a year.
Sepsis occurs when an infection - such as blood poisoning - sparks a violent immune response causing the body to attack its own organs.
If treated quickly it can be stopped. But it is notoriously difficult to diagnose.
Now experts at Strathclyde University have developed a new low-cost test that identifies a key protein in the blood.
It is made by the immune system and high levels are a strong indicator of sepsis.
During trials, the new test picked up elevated readings within two and a half minutes.
Experts hope the test will be used at the bedside in hospitals and in GP surgeries.
Dr Damion Corrigan, from the department of biomedical engineering at Strathclyde, said: "With sepsis, the timing is key.
"For every hour that you delay antibiotic treatment, the likelihood of death increases.”
Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, said earlier diagnosis and treatment across the UK could save at least 14,000 lives a year.
Mum Melissa Mead, said: “Anything that’s going to identify sepsis much more quickly and enable quicker access to treatment is always welcome.
“In that way, the test is brilliant news.
“But doctors and people need to think about sepsis - you can’t access the test unless somebody suspects you’ve got sepsis.
“Doctors need to be thinking sepsis so they can fast-track patients.”
What are the three stages of sepsis?
Sepsis affects the body in three distinct stages.
An infection invades a specific part of the body - pneumonia affects the lungs, for example - triggering the immune system into action.
The germs and toxins produced by the bacteria or virus leave the original site of infection and enter the bloodstream.
This causes the inflammatory response known as SIRS (systemic inflammatory response syndrome).
Individual organs throughout the body become affected and begin to deteriorate.
In severe cases, this can lead to organ failure.
More than one organ stops functioning, and the patient experiences cardio-circulatory failure that leads to a sudden drop in blood pressure.
This is known more commonly as septic shock.
What are the signs of sepsis you should never ignore?
If you, a loved one, or in the case of medical professionals their patient, feels "severely sick", doesn't appear to be themselves and shows any of the following symptoms, sepsis should be suspected:
- loss of appetite
- fever and chills
- difficult or rapid breathing
- rapid heart rate
- low blood pressure
- low urine output
If a person is suffering these symptoms and they are thought to have suffered an infection - pneumonia, abdominal infection, urinary infection, or a wound - sepsis is a likely cause.
Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8459725/new-sepsis-test-signs-save-thousands-lives/