This guideline covers the recognition, diagnosis and early management of suspected sepsis. It includes recommendations on recognition and early assessment, initial treatment, escalating care, finding and controlling the source of infection, early monitoring, information and support, and training and education.
In January 2024, we reviewed the evidence and made new recommendations on risk evaluation and management of suspected sepsis for people aged 16 or over who are not and have not recently been pregnant, in mental health, ambulance and acute hospital settings. This covers the population and settings in which the national early warning score (NEWS2) applies.
For details of changes made without an evidence review, see update information.
The guideline includes recommendations on:
- when to suspect sepsis
- face to face assessment
- under 16s: evaluating risk and managing suspected sepsis
- pregnant or recently pregnant people: evaluating risk and managing suspected sepsis
- over 16s (not pregnant or recently pregnant): evaluating risk and managing suspected sepsis
- antibiotic therapy, intravenous fluid and oxygen
- finding and controlling the source of infection
- information and support
- training and education
Who is it for?
- People with suspected sepsis, their families and carers
- Healthcare professionals working in primary, secondary and tertiary care
Is this guideline up to date?
For information on current or planned updates and areas we’re monitoring, see our suspected sepsis summary page.
Guideline development process
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.