Sepsis patients with higher ED triage scores get antibiotics faster, study finds

Emergency department sepsis patients with higher acuity scale scores get their antibiotics sooner than their counterparts with lower scores, giving them a greater chance at survival, researchers found.

Researchers from Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare presented their findings at the annual international conference of the American Thoracic Society in Dallas May 22.

Study participants included sepsis patients who were treated in four Intermountain Healthcare emergency departments between July 2013 and January 2017. The EDs assign patients a score on a subjective 1-to-5 acuity scale, which helps providers triage patients and allocate resources appropriately. A score of 1 indicates the patient is most in need of immediate care and a score of 5 indicates the least need.

Researchers focused on patients with mid-range scores, either a 2 (emergent) or 3 (urgent), who also had abnormally low blood pressures. Of 799 eligible patients, 591 had a score of 2, and 208 had a score of 3.

The study shows patients given a triage score of 3 had door-to-antibiotic times that were 32 minutes longer than patients assigned a triage score of 2.

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