Sepsis

Preserving patients' sanity in the hospital

Last year, 62-year-old Mark Halliday, a student in the Master of Social Work program at Rutgers, was hospitalized with a diabetes-related leg infection. Within 24 hours Halliday's heart rhythm became irregular, ...

Apr 14, 2014
popularity 4 / 5 (2) | comments 0

Sepsis (/ˈsɛpsɨs/, from Gr. σῆψις: the state of putrefaction or decay) is a potentially deadly medical condition that is characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state (called a systemic inflammatory response syndrome or SIRS) and the presence of a known or suspected infection. The body may develop this inflammatory response by the immune system to microbes in the blood, urine, lungs, skin, or other tissues. A lay term for sepsis is blood poisoning, also used to describe septicaemia. Severe sepsis is the systemic inflammatory response, plus infection, plus the presence of organ dysfunction.

Septicemia (also septicaemia or septicæmia [ˌsɛp.tə.ˈsi.miə],) is a related medical term referring to the presence of pathogenic organisms in the bloodstream, leading to sepsis. The term has not been sharply defined. It has been inconsistently used in the past by medical professionals, for example as a synonym of bacteremia, causing some confusion.

Severe sepsis is usually treated in the intensive care unit with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. If fluid replacement isn't sufficient to maintain blood pressure, specific vasopressor medications can be used. Mechanical ventilation and dialysis may be needed to support the function of the lungs and kidneys, respectively. To guide therapy, a central venous catheter and an arterial catheter may be placed; measurement of other hemodynamic variables (such as cardiac output, or mixed venous oxygen saturation) may also be used. Sepsis patients require preventive measures for deep vein thrombosis, stress ulcers and pressure ulcers, unless other conditions prevent this. Some patients might benefit from tight control of blood sugar levels with insulin (targeting stress hyperglycemia), or low-dose corticosteroids. Activated drotrecogin alfa (recombinant protein C) has not been found to be helpful, and has recently been withdrawn from sale.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Some immune cells defend only one organ

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may fight cancers and viral infections. The finding could aid efforts to use immune cells to treat illness.

Firm targets 3D printing synthetic tissues, organs

(Medical Xpress)—A University of Oxford spin-out, OxSyBio, will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. In the longer term the company ...

Survival hope for melanoma patients thanks to new vaccine

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that a new trial vaccine offers the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.