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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3/1/2018 12:00:00 AM CENTRAL
Updated: 3/1/2018 3:28:22 PM CENTRAL
For more information, contact Cora Gremaud.
PCMH Lab Equipped for Faster Response Times

Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires urgent attention and rapid treatment for survival. More specifically, sepsis is a serious complication of a blood infection and is the body’s overwhelming response to the infection. It is life-threatening, and without prompt treatment, often leads to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. More than 1.5 million people are diagnosed with sepsis each year in the United States. About 250,000 Americans die from sepsis annually.

Common symptoms of sepsis are fever, chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, rash, confusion, and disorientation. Many of these symptoms are also common in other conditions, making sepsis difficult to diagnose, especially in its early stagesSepsis is a medical emergency that requires urgent attention and rapid treatment for survival. More specifically, sepsis is a serious complication of a blood infection and is the body’s overwhelming response to the infection. It is life-threatening, and without prompt treatment, often leads to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. More than 1.5 million people are diagnosed with sepsis each year in the United States. About 250,000 Americans die from sepsis annually. 

Common symptoms of sepsis are fever, chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, rash, confusion, and disorientation. Many of these symptoms are also common in other conditions, making sepsis difficult to diagnose, especially in its early stages. In addition, when treating sepsis, time matters.

In October 2017, the laboratory at Perry County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) went “live” with state-of-the-art equipment that more rapidly identifies sepsis through blood cultures. The new instrument incubates and continuously monitors patient’s blood samples to detect infection in the blood.  When an infection is detected, the laboratory then tests the same blood sample using a Blood Culture Identification Panel (BCID).  The BCID panel can identify 24 of the most common organisms that cause sepsis.  

“In years past, this sort of technology was not available to laboratories in small rural hospitals,” stated Julie Wengert, PCMH Laboratory Director.  “Blood cultures had to be sent to a large reference laboratory for testing. Typically, it would take 24 to 48 hours before receiving a positive blood culture report from the reference lab and another 24 hours before the organism causing the infection was identified.” Since the addition of the blood culture testing instruments, the laboratory at PCMH has been able to perform the same testing in typically 14 hours or less. The reduction in time for these blood cultures to test positive and the subsequent organism identification has significantly impacted patient care. “The new equipment has been beneficial on many levels, stated Dr. Rao, PCMH Hospitalist.  “The patient’s treatment can be optimized much more quickly, thus improving overall patient outcomes, reducing healthcare costs, and decreasing length of hospital stays.”

In addition, the United States is facing an increasingly serious problem of drug resistant bacteria due to inappropriate use of antibiotics. The laboratory at PCMH is responding to the challenge of antibiotic stewardship by using instruments that provide accurate and comprehensive test results in one hour. This allows their physicians to immediately optimize treatment protocols that target the specific infection rather than administering a wide-spectrum antibiotic, which may not be necessary.  

By adopting the most innovative technology and testing procedures, PCMH laboratory is able to provide the best possible health outcomes for its patients and the community it serves. 

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