September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Every 2 minutes someone dies from sepsis in the U.S. – that’s more than from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.
This Sepsis Awareness Month, MCN is pleased to partner with Sepsis Alliance in raising awareness and saving lives from sepsis. Sepsis is treatable, especially with early recognition and care.
Sepsis Alliance was founded in 2007, by Dr. Carl Flatley, whose daughter Erin died unnecessarily of sepsis when she was 23 years old. Sepsis Alliance was created to raise sepsis awareness among both the general public and healthcare professionals. Sepsis awareness can and does save lives, yet only 55% of American adults have ever heard the word. Sepsis Alliance also gives a voice to the millions of people who have been touched by sepsis – to the survivors, and the friends and family members of those who have survived or who have died. Survivors and those left behind often feel as if they are alone.
Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening, and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. A person’s immune system usually works to fight bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites to prevent infection. If an infection does occur, the immune system will try to fight it, although the patient may need help with medication such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics. However, for reasons researchers don’t understand, sometimes the immune system stops fighting the “invaders,” and begins to turn on itself. This is the start of sepsis.
Some people are at higher risk of developing sepsis because they are at higher risk of contracting an infection. These include the very young, the very old, those with chronic illnesses, and those with a weakened or impaired immune system.
Forty percent of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis do not survive. Up to 50% of survivors suffer from post-sepsis syndrome. Until a cure for sepsis is found, early detection is the surest hope for survival and limiting disability for survivors.
Patients are diagnosed with sepsis when they develop a set of signs and symptoms related to sepsis. Sepsis is not diagnosed based on an infection itself. If a patient has more than one of the symptoms of sepsis, especially if there are signs of an infection or the patient falls into one of the higher risk groups – suspect sepsis.
Symptoms of Sepsis may include:
- Hypothermia (lower than normal body temperature)
- Heart rate >90 beats per minute (bpm)
- Fast respiratory rate
- Altered mental status (confusion/coma)
- Edema (swelling)
- High blood glucose without diabetes
- High white blood cell count
- Immature white blood cells in the circulation
- Elevated plasma C-reactive protein
- Elevated procalcitonin (PCT)
- Low blood pressure
- Low central venous or mixed venous oxygen saturation
- High cardiac index
- Low oxygen level
- Low urine output
- High creatinine in the blood
- Coagulation (clotting) abnormalities
- Absent bowel sounds
- Low platelets in the blood
- High bilirubin levels
- High lactate in the blood
- Decreased capillary filling or mottling
During the month of September, MCN Healthcare will highlight sepsis and hopefully help raise awareness of sepsis through our blogs.
There are so many ways for you to get involved, whether you’re a nurse, survivor, EMT, family member of someone with sepsis, or a sepsis advocate.
You can make a difference by getting involved with Sepsis Awareness Month. Sepsis Alliance offers the following ways to help awareness:
Regulatory Compliance Solutions for Healthcare Organizations
Our comprehensive compliance suite includes:
Learn more. Visit mcnhealthcare.com