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All You Need to Know About Sepsis, Causes, Diagnosis and Prevention

According to the World Health Organization, sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. If not detected and managed early Sepsis may lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and even death. This simply means that sepsis is the body’s overactive and toxic response to an infection.

The human immune system is built to fight bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites introduced into the body to prevent illnesses. When an infection occurs, the immune system attempts to fight it by releasing certain chemicals into the blood to combat the infection. Sepsis occurs due to an imbalance in the body’s response to these chemicals as they spread within a person’s body from the original source of infection to other organs through the bloodstream.

The short term complications of sepsis include; respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension, cardiac failure, shock, renal failure, liver dysfunction, and cerebral edema. Some long-term complications include developmental delays and sensory and neurological dysfunction.

Symptoms of Sepsis

The symptoms of sepsis, especially after an already diagnosed infection are often tricky and can be mistaken for other serious conditions. However, these symptoms are major signs that lead to the early diagnosis:

  • Fever, low body temperature or shivering
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Cold, pale or discolored skin
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech and loss of consciousness
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Severe muscle pain and discomfort
  • Low urine output

Causes of Sepsis and Risk Factors

Sepsis is commonly caused by bacterial infections, as any bodily infection can trigger the condition. Other risk factors include:

  • Nosocomial Infections: These are infections acquired in health care settings. Infections are sometimes introduced into the body through needles used in blood collection and medication delivery. Nosocomial infections affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide every year.
  • Organ transplants
  • A weakened immune system
  • Chemotherapy treatment
  • Increase in antibiotic resistance
  • Usage of immunosuppressive drugs
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, kidney/liver infection, HIV/AIDS, and cancer

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sepsis

Diagnosis of sepsis requires a series of tests at the hospital to determine the severity of the infection, and these include:

Early diagnosis allows for effective treatment with antibiotics. However a delay in diagnosis would result in more severe forms of the disease that may require other treatment modalities such as:

  • Administering intravenous fluids to fight infection
  • Using vasoactive medications to increase blood pressure
  • Initiating kidney dialysis
  • Using insulin to stabilize blood sugar
  • Using corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Using other means of organ support as required

Prevention Tips

Preventing the spread of infection can reduce individual risk of developing sepsis, and this can be done by getting vaccinations for flu, pneumonia, and practicing good personal and environmental hygiene.

To prevent nosocomial infections, hospitals should establish healthy hygiene practices and make use of good quality blood collection and medication delivery devices.

The BD Pre-Analytical Systems and Medication Delivery Solutions (Coming soon to ISN) are specifically designed to prevent contamination of the blood during blood collection and medication delivery, while maximizing comfort and safety for patients and health workers alike.

Our BD Pre-Analytical Systems and Medication Delivery Solutions (Coming soon to ISN) are specifically designed to prevent contamination of the blood during collection and medication delivery, while maximizing comfort and safety for patients and health workers alike. Our solutions help to eliminate complications, reduce costs and enable access to better care.

ISN is helping laboratories and hospitals to manage the risk of nosocomial infections. Contact us today to find out more about our pre-analytical systems and be the first to know about our Medication Delivery Solutions.

We can save more lives by preventing sepsis and following through with appropriate treatment once a diagnosis is made.

Follow our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for more tips and information on healthcare and diagnostics.


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