Led by NOMIS researcher Luregn Schlapbach, a group of over 40 national experts assembled a Swiss Sepsis National Action Plan. Enhancing innovative research that drives cutting-edge ideas from the bench to the bedside to save children’s lives is a key recommendation.
Blood poisoning or sepsis is a severely underestimated scourge of humanity. In an interview with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), intensive care physician Luregn Schlapbach explains when one should think of the insidious disease and why it occasionally reminds him of Goethe’s “Erlkönig.” Schlapbach says, “We have to assume that we could prevent several hundred deaths in Switzerland.”
More on the Swiss Sepsis National Action Plan
Sepsis is when our body’s response to infection causes a shutdown of vital organs. It is a devastating disease responsible for over 10 million deaths worldwide every year. In Switzerland, studies have estimated that sepsis affects about 20,000 people and causes almost 3,500 deaths every year. Up to half of those who survive will suffer long-term, sometimes life-long, adverse consequences of sepsis. Sepsis can affect people of any age and health condition. The most vulnerable groups are newborns and young infants, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions or reduced immune defenses.
In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared sepsis a global health priority. The 2021 European Sepsis Report revealed that – contrary to other European countries – Switzerland had not yet actioned the sepsis resolution. In response, a group of over 50 sepsis experts (including clinical, academic, and policy professionals, and sepsis survivors) reviewed the needs, gaps, and strategies to address sepsis in Switzerland.
The expert panel identified sepsis as a key priority that requires a coordinated national approach and formulated a Swiss Sepsis National Action Plan (SSNAP). The four key recommendations include:
1) Raising awareness of sepsis in the public as well as improving sepsis-specific education in the healthcare workforce, and improving prevention of sepsis.
2) Establishing and implementing standards for rapid detection, treatment, and follow-up in sepsis patients.
3) Creating support systems for sepsis survivors.
4) Promoting research on sepsis.
Read the NZZ interview (German only)
Learn more about the Swiss Sepsis National Action Plan
Head of the Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
University Children’s Hospital Zurich