Sepsis is a severe medical condition that is caused by an infection in the body that travels to the blood stream. This infection has extremely high death rates and can be linked to most admissions in the intensive care unit. There is a series of events that happens once an infection occurs in the body. These events are preventable if caught early on in this cascade.
The initial cause of all further problems is the infection. This can occur anywhere in the body. The most common sites of infection that can lead to sepsis include: urinary tract, skin, abdominal, and respiratory. These infections can occur at any time, in any population; however, there are some groups of people who are at a higher risk. These include individuals who have been diagnosed with: diabetes mellitus, renal failure, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Leon, Hoyos, Barrera, De La Rosa, Dennis, Duenas, ...view middle of the document...
The most important factor here is the route of infection. Research conducted by BMC infectious diseases proves that abdominal and urinary tract infections spread much faster than skin and soft tissue infections (Leon, Hoyos, Barrera, De La Rosa, Dennis, Duenas, Granados, Londono, Rodriguez, Molina, Ortiz, Jaimes, 2013). Sepsis is determined to have occurred based on the patient’s clinical presentation. When patients who have a known infection begin to have low blood pressure it is thought that the simple infection has become sepsis. This is a cardinal sign of sepsis and should be caught early on to prevent progression to the next stage of this disease.
Septic shock is the late stage of sepsis. It occurs when the patient’s infection has spread through the blood stream to vital organs. This spread of infection is the most dangerous aspect of sepsis. At this stage patients will typically present with a blood pressure that is not perfusing the organs or no blood pressure at all. Also the patient will routinely go into respiratory failure and will require intubation to maintain their airway. Once this has occurred patients are considered critically ill and will need to be moved to the intensive care unit. The only treatment at this point is to maintain ventilation through a breathing machine, maintain the patient’s blood pressure utilizing “pressor” medication, and treat the infection with intravenous antibiotics.
Sepsis is a serious and fatal disease. Research has proven that the mortality rate for those who have developed sepsis only increases as the disease progresses (Leon, Hoyos, Barrera, De La Rosa, Dennis, Duenas, Granados, Londono, Rodriguez, Molina, Ortiz, Jaimes, 2013). The best way to combat this illness is to treat it in its early stages. Once infection occurs it needs to be treated quickly and efficiently to prevent progression to sepsis and later septic shock. Once this progression has occurred there may be irreversible damage done to vital organs and patients may need to remain hospitalized for weeks or months. The sepsis progression is easily preventable if caught early enough. Early treatment is the best way to save lives.