Medical research

Blood-cleansing biospleen device developed for sepsis therapy

Things can go downhill fast when a patient has sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which bacteria or fungi multiply in a patient's blood—often too fast for antibiotics to help. A new device inspired by the human spleen ...

Genetics

Genes linked to death from sepsis identified in mice

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's immune response to infection spirals out of control. Bacteria in the bloodstream trigger immune cells to release powerful molecules called cytokines to quickly ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Big data reveals hidden subtypes of sepsis

Much like cancer, sepsis isn't simply one condition but rather many conditions that could benefit from different treatments, according to the results of a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study involving more than ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Fighting staph infections with the body's immune system

Researchers have gained a greater understanding of the biology of staphylococcus skin infections in mice and how the mouse immune system mobilizes to fight them. A study appears this week in the PNAS. Community acquired methicillin-resistant ...

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Sepsis

Sepsis is a serious medical condition 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 to microbes in the blood, urine, lungs, skin, or other tissues. An incorrect layman's term for sepsis is blood poisoning, more aptly applied to Septicemia, below.

Septicemia (also septicæmia [sep⋅ti⋅cæ⋅mi⋅a], or erroneously Septasemia and Septisema) is a related but deprecated (formerly sanctioned medical) term referring to the presence of pathogenic organisms in the blood-stream, 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. The present medical consensus is therefore that the term[which?] is problematic and should be avoided.

Sepsis is usually treated in the intensive care unit with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. If fluid replacement is insufficient to maintain blood pressure, specific vasopressor drugs can be used. Artificial 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. 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), low-dose corticosteroids or activated drotrecogin alfa (recombinant protein C).

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