What Does Infection in Blood or Sepsis Mean?
Infection in the blood or Sepsis is a medical emergency which is caused by a bacterial infection in the blood. This condition is also known by the name of septicemia. The bacteria present in the blood release poisonous material in the blood which results in the immune system resorting to an inflammatory response which is nothing short of massive resulting in sepsis.
Infection in the blood or Sepsis is also known by the name of blood poisoning. The result of the massive immune response is that many vital organs of the body get affected resulting in multiorgan failure which in turn proves fatal for the affected individual.
Infection in the blood or Sepsis is one of the top 10 serious diseases that affect Americans every year. Studies estimate that every year approximately a million people are hospitalized with Infection in the blood or Sepsis.
What Causes Infection in Blood or Sepsis?
Bacterial infection occurring in the blood is the most common cause of Infection in the blood or Sepsis even though there are many microbes that may cause this condition. In some cases, infection in the lungs like pneumonia, urinary tract infections, or appendicitis can spread and lead to development of Infection in the blood or Sepsis. Postsurgical infections are also one of the causes of Infection in the blood or Sepsis.
What are the Symptoms of Infection in Blood or Sepsis?
The symptoms of Infection in the blood or Sepsis will start to occur immediately or after a few days of a bacterial infection or after a surgical procedure. Symptoms of infection in the blood or Sepsis may mimic symptoms of certain other medical conditions and so an individual needs to be proactive and keeping in mind the recent history of infection should go to the emergency department immediately so that treatment can be started before the condition advances to more critical stage.
The symptoms of Infection in the blood or Sepsis can become severe rather quickly and include:
- Extremely high fever along with chills
In case if Infection in the blood or Sepsis has advanced to a significant degree then the following symptoms will be observed which will require emergent medical attention
- Change in mental alertness
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe muscle pain
- Shortness of breath
- Extremely low urine output
- Skin becoming cold and pale
- Loss of consciousness
These symptoms generally develop when Infection in the blood or Sepsis reaches an advanced stage. This is usually in the elderly population or children who have had a recent bacterial infection or a surgery which may have become infected causing Infection in the blood or Sepsis.
How is Infection in Blood or Sepsis Treated?
Antibiotics are the front line treatment for Infection in the blood or Sepsis as it is mainly caused by a bacterial infection. The choice of antibiotic that may treat the patient is quite a difficult task as treating the infection as quickly as possible is the key to treating Infection in the blood or Sepsis.
The physician in fact does not even have time to wait for the results of the laboratory tests to confirm the type of bacteria as it may take valuable time and may put the life of the patient at risk. Some of the common antibiotics that are used to treat Infection in the blood or Sepsis are Imipenem, Piperacillin-tazobactam, and Ampicillin.
If Infection in the blood or Sepsis is diagnosed in its early stages antibiotics may suffice to treat the infection if given immediately. For advanced cases of Infection in the blood or Sepsis, the patient will require to be treated in the ICU and be given IV fluids, vasopressors, and other organ support as required to treat Infection in the blood or Sepsis.
What is the Prognosis of Infection in Blood or Sepsis?
The overall prognosis for Infection in the blood or Sepsis depends on various factors like the overall age of the patient, the health condition, how quickly the diagnosis was made and treatment was started, and the organism causing Infection in the blood or Sepsis.
The prognosis is quite poor for people with immune compromised state and of older age with only 20% of such people actually recovering from Infection in the blood or Sepsis. Prognosis for a healthy individual with no health concerns is extremely good.
Overall, approximately 40% of people diagnosed with Infection in the blood or Sepsis go into septic shock and are not able to be revived from it while the other 60% if treated promptly and adequately can recover completely with no lasting affects from Infection in the blood or Sepsis.
How is Infection in Blood or Sepsis Diagnosed?
When the patient first presents to the emergency room, the physician will first observe the symptoms and once Infection in the blood or Sepsis is suspected then a history of the patient will be taken as to whether he or she has had a recent infection or a surgical procedure.
The physician will also inquire as to the immune state of the patient as to whether the patient is a healthy individual or is prone to frequent infections. Once there is sufficient evidence pointing towards Infection in the blood or Sepsis a blood test will be done to look for any signs of infection in the blood causing the symptoms. Additionally, if the patient is suffering from localized pain in any particular area, imaging studies may be conducted to look for infection in that region which may be causing the symptoms. All the above tests will confirmatively diagnose Infection in the blood or Sepsis.