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
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.
A weakened immune system
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:
Conducting an analysis of blood to check for infection, clotting problems, abnormal liver or kidney function, imbalance in minerals that affect the level of water and acidity of the blood, using BC-20 Auto Hematology Analyser, the BC-10 Auto Hematology Analyser, and the BC-30 Auto Hematology Analyser.
Initiating clinical chemistry analysis of urine using the Cobas u 411, c111, and c311.
Conducting an IVD (in-vitro diagnostic) test on tissues and marking out infectious diseases, using the Cobas b101 HBA1C and Lipid Profile Analyser and E411.
Initiating an ultrasound scan to detect infections in the gallbladder or ovaries using the DC-8, the DC-40, and the DP-2200.
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
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 SML) 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 SML) 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.
Sigma Mediquip Ltd 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.