Blood Infection or Sepsis

Overview of Blood Infection (Sepsis)

Blood Infections
Blood Infections

Sepsis refers to a bacterial infection in the bloodstream or body tissues. Sepsis (blood poisoning) is a severe medical condition and can be a deadly infection. Septicemia is an interrelated medical term referring to the presence of pathogenic organisms in the bloodstream, leading to sepsis. Sepsis is caused by the immune system‘s response to a serious infection, most commonly bacteria, but also fungi, viruses, and parasites in the blood, urinary tract, lungs, skin, or other tissues. Chemicals released into the blood to battle infection trigger widespread inflammation. Inflammation may result in organ damage. Often, Sepsis progresses to Septic Shock, blood pressure drop dramatically that may lead to death.

Causes of Blood Infection (Sepsis)

The most common primary sources of infection resulting in Blood infection or Sepsis are the lungs, the abdomen and the urinary tract. The infectious agents are usually bacteria but can also be fungi and viruses. Infections in the lungs (pneumonia), bladder and kidneys (urinary tract infections), skin (cellulitis), abdomen (such as appendicitis), and other areas (such as meningitis) can spread and lead to sepsis.

Risk Factors for Blood Infection or Sepsis

·         Old and very Young People

·         People taking immuno-suppressive medications

·         Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

·         People suffering from Diabetes, AIDS or Cirrhosis

·         People who are undergone Heart Valve Replacement, using catheters, having ostomy sites, having intravenous (IV) or arterial lines, having surgical wounds or surgical drains.

Symptoms of Blood Infection or Sepsis

Most common symptom of Blood Infection or Sepsis is fever, often accompanied by chills or shaking, or other flu-like symptoms. Generally, the symptoms are

·         Chills

·         Fever over 38C (100.4F) or low body temperature below 95 F

·         Rapid heartbeat

·         Shaking

·         Skin rash

·         Warm skin

In severe cases symptoms can be

  • Confusion or delirium
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting and Nausea

Diagnosis of Blood Infection or Sepsis

Definitive diagnosis depends on a positive blood culture for an infectious agent and minimum two symptoms. Severe sepsis is diagnosed when the septic patient has organ dysfunction (low or no urine flow, altered mental status) or sepsis-induced hypo-tension also termed septic shock.

Treatment of Blood Infection or Sepsis

In early stages, it may be possible to treat the infection at home with antibiotics and there are good make a full recovery. In most of the cases, the patients need to be hospitalized, treated with appropriate intravenous antibiotics, and given therapy to support any organ dysfunction. Combinations of two or three antibiotics given at the same time; most combinations usually include Vancomycin to treat many MRSA infections. Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock are medical emergencies and require admission to ICU.

Sepsis Survival Rate

In case of mild sepsis mortality rates are approximately 15%, in case of severe sepsis  mortality rate is about 30%  and in people septic shock the mortality rate is approximately 50%.

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