DETROIT — An aggressive therapy for severe infection pioneered at Henry Ford Hospital has been endorsed as a national practice benchmark by the National Quality Forum to effectively treat patients with the serious medical condition.

NQF endorsed measures are considered the gold standard for health care measurement by health care providers, federal government and many private sector entities in the United States. The mission of these measures is that patient will not only get quality care but also cost effective care.

Unlike national practice guidelines for stroke, heart attacks and trauma, none existed for severe infection, otherwise known as sepsis, which causes the body’s immune system to self-destruct. More people die of severe sepsis every year than those who die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Early Goal Directed Therapy for sepsis was pioneered by Emanuel Rivers, M.D., vice chairman and research director of Henry Ford’s Department of Emergency Medicine, as part of a three-year research study that culminated with the results being published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2001.

EGDT involves early detection of sepsis, antibiotics and aggressive treatment in the first six hours, entailing a series of steps to restore the supply of oxygen to vital organs as soon as possible. Critical decreases in oxygen supply to vital organs lead to organ failure, amputation and death. The billions of dollars associated with the cost of sepsis complications is significantly decreased with EGDT.

EGDT dramatically reduces the death rate from 40-50 percent to less than 25 percent. In the last decade, the results have been duplicated in more than 50 studies worldwide, saving thousands of patients.

As a result of Rivers’ findings, Henry Ford implemented EGDT as the standard protocol for treating severe infection in its Emergency Department and Intensive Care Units. Henry Ford is a Level 1 trauma center that specializes in trauma, heart attacks and stroke.

Rivers is nationally recognized for his research in severe infection, critical care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In 2005 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science — the most prestigious honor in medicine — for his work with severe sepsis.

Rivers completed a residency in Emergency and Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Critical Care Medicine. He has been a senior staff physician in the Emergency Department and Surgical Intensive Care Unit since 1988. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine.


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