New sepsis test could detect results in minutes

26th February 2019 Clinical Negligence

Last week researchers at the University of Strathclyde announced that they are developing a new rapid test for earlier diagnosis of sepsis (BBC).

Last week also saw Melissa Mead collect her MBE for her tireless work in the fight against sepsis. Since Melissa’s son, William, aged 12 months, sadly passed away from sepsis following a chest infection in 2014, Melissa has been working as an Ambassador for The UK Sepsis Trust.

Around 52,000 people lose their lives to sepsis every year in the UK, which can start out from something mild and from anywhere in the body, ranging from a cut on the finger to a chest or urine infection.

The UK Sepsis Trust has welcomed the research but added that no test was perfect at spotting the condition, which makes it all the more important to know the signs and symptoms of sepsis which can appear differently in adults and children. Sepsis is preventable and so it is crucial to know the symptoms in order to receive treatment as quickly as possible. JMW have previously produced an animation of the symptoms to look out for to detect sepsis, which is particularly important with children who cannot always tell you their symptoms. Early diagnosis of sepsis can be treated with antibiotics.

Currently blood tests can take up to 72 hours to determine the best antibiotic to treat sepsis.

The new test is currently being tested and uses a device to detect if one of the protein biomarkers of sepsis, interleukin-6 (IL-6), one of the best markers of sepsis, is present in the blood and may be able to produce results in two and a half minutes. This is particularly important where time truly is of the essence in identifying sepsis.

The test would have the potential to be used in A&E, at bedsides, within the community and ideally be implanted and used on patients in intensive care, not just nationally but around the world. If the test is approved by clinical trials it could be seen within three to five years and would be a low cost, lifesaving test which could be performed within minutes.

The clinical negligence department at JMW have a wealth of experience in dealing with cases resulting from sepsis. Sepsis, as well as being fatal, can have catastrophic life-long consequences including loss of limbs and organ failure. If you would like to discuss a possible legal claim with a member of our team at JMW, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Hannah Madkour is a Paralegallocated in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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