Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock

Sepsis is an inflammatory response to a severe infection which triggers a rapid series of events, such as leaking blood vessels and impaired blood flow. Septic shock occurs when adequate blood pressure cannot be restored. Septic shock may lead to multiple organ failure and death. Early detection and treatment of septic patients is key to improving the health of the patient and reducing the risk of death.

Sepsis is an inflammatory response to a severe infection from a virus, bacteria, or fungus, which triggers a rapid series of events, such as leaking blood vessels and impaired blood flow. It is a medical emergency and can be a potentially life threaten condition.

There are three stages of sepsis: sepsis, sever sepsis, and septic shock. Septic shock occurs when adequate blood pressure cannot be restored. Septic shock may lead to multiple organ failure and death. Early detection and treatment of septic patients is key to improving the health of the patient and reducing the risk of death.

Facts about sepsis from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Each year, at least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis
  • Nearly 270,000 Americans die as a result of sepsis
  • One in three patients that die in a hospital had sepsis

Even with these alarming numbers, only 28 percent of Americans could correctly identify all the symptoms. Sepsis.org recommends the acronym TIME as an easy way to remember the symptoms:

Temperature that is higher or lower than normal
Infection ̶ may have signs and symptoms
Mental decline ̶ confused, sleepy, difficult to rouse
Extremely ill ̶ severe pain, discomfort, shortness of breath

Who is at risk?

  • Sepsis survivors
  • Older age individuals
  • Children younger than one year old
  • Compromised immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney or liver disease
  • Admission to intensive care unit or longer hospital stays
  • Invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes
  • Previous use of antibiotics or corticosteroids

Treatment

Early detection and treatment of sepsis is essential to improve patient recovery. Patients should be sure to tell their health care provider as much as possible regarding their health history, especially if they were recently treated for sepsis or had a hospitalization. If you have a caregiver, be sure they are up to date on all your health conditions. Your health care provider may run tests, and if appropriate, give intravenous fluid, antibiotics, and other medications to regulate your blood pressure.

Cost

New research estimates that the 2019 cost of sepsis care for inpatient admissions and skilled-nursing facility admissions was more than $62 billion. A study comparing Medicare beneficiaries’ annual costs during 2012 and 2018 showed a 26 percent increase. Prevention and education for both clinicians and patient/families are essential for managing costs. 

HAP Contacts

Contact Beth Murray, HAP readmissions project manager, for more information. Media inquiries should be directed to Liam Migdail, director, media relations.


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