A breakthrough blood test to rapidly identify sepsis on anvil | Health

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A blood test for sepsis, a life-threatening complication, has been developed and is currently in trial at two UK hospitals, reports Irish Examiner. The much-dreaded condition, also known as blood poisoning, has no test for diagnosis currently which makes it difficult to identify and treat it. (Also read | Under recognised contribution of viral pathogens to sepsis: Research)

In India, sepsis cases have been estimated to be 11.3 million, with 2.9 million deaths in 2017, as per CHEST Journal(Freepik)

Millions of people around the world suffer from this condition, and many of them succumb to it. In India alone, sepsis cases have been estimated to be 11.3 million, with 2.9 million deaths in 2017, as per CHEST Journal. As per CDC, at least 1.7 million adults in USA develop sepsis and at least 3,50,000 adults who develop sepsis die during their hospitalisation or are discharged to hospice.

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According to CDC, most sepsis cases begin before hospital admission and the infections that cause the condition commonly start in the lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. If not treated, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Even if one recovers from sepsis, their quality of life is compromised.

As per Irish Examiner, if the sepsis test is successful in a wider trial, it may be used to screen patients for the condition when they present with symptoms at A&E or if their condition deteriorates in a hospital ward.

It could also help doctors identify the sickest patients quicker and respond faster to prevent someone rapidly becoming more ill.

What the test promises

Reportedly, the test which is being trialled at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London, can help identify patients who are more likely to develop sepsis and subsequently organ failure.

How the test works

According to a report from the Irish Examiner, a groundbreaking test has been developed to detect a protein associated with neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs are intricate webs of DNA released by the immune system during an overactive response, leading to conditions like sepsis. The test aims to quantify the levels of these proteins in the bloodstream, offering a crucial indicator of elevated NETs and an increased risk of developing sepsis.

A comprehensive year-long study, initiated on November 27 and supported by funding from Volition Diagnostics UK, is underway at St Thomas’ Hospital. The study involves testing the protein levels in 500 individuals suffering from sepsis or septic shock within the hospital’s intensive care unit. This innovative approach holds promise for early detection and intervention in cases of sepsis, potentially revolutionizing the way this life-threatening condition is diagnosed and managed.

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