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Lower the mortality risk for sepsis with earlier initiation of targeted antibiotics

What is sepsis? 

Sepsis, the body’s extreme response to an infection, is a global burden on healthcare that affects approximately 1.7 million adults in the United States each year1 and contributes to 11 million deaths worldwide.2 It is also the most expensive hospital-treated condition in the United States, accounting for $62 billion in healthcare costs.3 

What causes sepsis? 

Bacterial infections cause most cases of sepsis, but fungus, parasites, or viruses can also be responsible. The most common infections leading to sepsis include lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract infections, which can then manifest in the bloodstream. If sepsis is not identified and treated in a timely manner, it can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.1

Infection and Systematic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) can lead to sepsis4

Injury to the body, when severe, can lead to SIRS the body’s exaggerated defense response to a noxious stressor (infection, acute inflammation, trauma, burns, or other malignancies). The body will try to localize and eliminate the source of insult. A patient is diagnosed with sepsis when the suspected source is an infection, which may lead to more severe conditions and death if left untreated. 

How is sepsis identified? 

Sepsis is suspected when a patient presents with symptoms associated with severe infection, especially if they are in a high-risk category, including infants, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, and those with weakened immune systems. Common sepsis symptoms include high heart rate, low blood pressure, and altered mental state. fever or chills, shortness of breath, extreme pain or discomfort, or clammy skin.

Severe sepsis occurs when in addition to sepsis, there are also signs of organ dysfunction. Most patients with severe sepsis require treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU). Patients with severe sepsis may further deteriorate into septic shock when their blood pressure drops to dangerous levels. Every hour of delayed treatment for a patient in septic shock increases mortality risk by 8%.5 

In addition to symptoms and risk factors, there are several other sepsis screening and assessment protocols (ex. SIRS, qSOFA, MEWS, NEWS, etc.) – a combination of biometrics and physiological measurements that provide clinicians with a score that can be used to assess the risk of sepsis. 

Sepsis Treatment 

Antimicrobial treatment, along with fluid resuscitation, is the most common treatment method for patients with sepsis. For those without a confirmed source of infection, standard guidelines recommend physicians start patients suspected of bloodstream infections on broad-spectrum therapy.6 Broad-spectrum or empiric therapy treats many different organisms but does not necessarily target the specific bacterium or fungus causing the patient’s infection. Blood cultures have long been regarded as the gold standard for diagnosing BSIs, though they can take several days to deliver results.  

For patients with sepsis, time is critical – faster time to result and time to targeted treatment leads to improved chances of survival against sepsis.7 While waiting for blood culture results, patient conditions may continue to deteriorate if the broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy is ineffective against the underlying bloodstream infection. As a result of inappropriate or delayed antimicrobial treatment, patients are at risk of developing potentially life-threatening complications, such as sepsis and septic shock. With millions of people impacted by sepsis every year across the globe, it is critical for physicians to utilize effective diagnostic tools which enable fast initiation of targeted therapy. 

Enhancing the standard of care for sepsis 

Time is of the essence when combatting bloodstream infections and sepsis, making the lengthy nature of the current standard of care problematic. Today’s standard for detecting bloodstream infections includes obtaining blood cultures and waiting for a positive result, which can take between one and five days. Once the culture is positive, subsequent rapid diagnostics may be used for species identification. These post-culture molecular tests take a few hours to produce results after the initial waiting period of one to five days for a positive blood culture.

T2MR Technology vs. Current Standard of Care

T2 Biosystems has developed the first and only diagnostic test panels to provide species identification directly from a whole blood sample without waiting for a positive blood culture. The T2Bacteria® and T2Candida® Panels are run on the fully automated T2Dx® Instrument and are powered by T2 Magnetic Resonance (T2MR®) Technology. 

With results in as little as 3 to 5 hours, physicians can target therapy before the second dose of empiric therapy has been administered. When every hour counts, T2Bacteria and T2Candida can provide rapid species identification for bacterial and fungal infections before the blood culture turns positive, enabling timely and targeted treatment for better patient outcomes. 


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/sepsis/what-is-sepsis.html
  2. Rhee C, Jones TM, Hamad Y, et al. Prevalence, Underlying Causes, and Preventability of Sepsis-Associated Mortality in US Acute Care Hospitals. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(2):e187571. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7571 
  3. Rudd, Kristina E., et al. “Global, regional, and national sepsis incidence and mortality, 1990–2017: analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study.” The Lancet 395.10219 (2020): 200-211. 
  4. Chakraborty RK, Burns B. Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. [Updated 2022 May 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547669/
  5. Kumar, A., Roberts, D., Wood, K. E., Light, B., Parrillo, J. E., Sharma, S., … & Gurka, D. (2006). Duration of hypotension before initiation of effective antimicrobial therapy is the critical determinant of survival in human septic shock. Critical care medicine, 34(6), 1589-1596. 
  6. Yealy, Donald M., et al. “Early care of adults with suspected sepsis in the emergency department and out-of-hospital environment: a consensus-based task force report.” Annals of Emergency Medicine 78.1 (2021): 1-19. 
  7. Evans L, Rhodes A, Alhazzani, W, et al.  Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International Guidelines for Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock 2021. Critical Care Medicine: November 2021 – Volume 49 – Issue 11 – p e1063-e1143