NEAS wins an award for research
NEAS wins an award for research
It's largely unknown to the general public, and poorly
understood by many health professionals, yet sepsis - the immune
system's response to a serious infection - is one of the deadliest
conditions known to man.
Now NEAS has earned a national award from Swansea University's
"TRUST" group, which acts as a network for organisations across the
UK involved in emergency and trauma care research, has now honoured
In 2012, NEAS introduced a screening system which identified
patients showing signs of sepsis. This meant NEAS could send a
pre-alert to hospitals in the North East, warning them that a
patient with suspected sepsis was en-route.
Early recognition of sepsis by paramedics means the hospital can
be ready to start their treatment without delay on arrival.
Pre-alerting hospital and starting antibiotic therapy has been
shown to reduce deaths from this condition.
The research work was carried out by Graham McClelland and Paul
Younger, who both work as Research Paramedics at NEAS.
Graham and Paul's work was one of 26 projects presented at the
Cardiff conference in February - and was named "Research Most
Likely to Affect Practice."
Globally, more than twenty to thirty million people are affected
every year, claiming more lives in the UK than lung cancer or bowel
and breast cancer combined. Sepsis is claimed to kill 37,000 people
in the UK every year. A person dies from sepsis somewhere in the
world every few seconds.
Well known victims of sepsis include Pope John Paul II, Superman
actor Christopher Reeve, "Grease" actor Jeff Conoway, and Muppets
creator Jim Henson.
NEAS is teaching all staff about the illness, which is often
confused with blood poisoning, as part of its continuing education
and development program
The symptoms of sepsis are not caused by the microbes
themselves. Instead, chemicals the body releases cause the
A bacterial infection anywhere in the body may set off the
response that leads to sepsis. Common places where an infection
might start include:
- The bloodstream
- The bones (common in children)
- The bowel (usually seen with peritonitis)
- The kidneys (upper urinary tract infection or
- The lining of the brain (meningitis)
- The liver or gallbladder
- The lungs ( bacterial pneumonia)
- The skin ( cellulitis)
For patients in hospital, common sites of infection include
intravenous lines, surgical wounds, surgical drains, and sites of
skin breakdown known as bedsores (decubitus ulcers).
Paul Younger, NEAS Research Paramedic, said: "It was a great
honour to be recognised by our peers for the work we have
undertaken to improve our understanding and recognition of sepsis
in the North East"
Graham McClelland, NEAS Research Paramedic, said: "Our work
highlights the efforts being made by paramedics to improve their
treatment for this group of patients"
In the developed world, sepsis is dramatically increasing by an
annual rate of between 8-13 % Reasons are diverse, but include the
aging population, increasing use of high-risk interventions in all
age groups, and the development of drug-resistant and more virulent
varieties of infections.
In the developing world malnutrition, poverty, lack of access to
vaccines and timely treatment all contribute to death.