Septicemia and Sepsis

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This is just a part of a CDC report.
  • The number and rate per 10,000 population of hospitalizations for septicemia or sepsis more than doubled from 2000 through 2008.
  • The hospitalization rates for septicemia or sepsis in 2008 were similar for males and females and increased with age.
  • Patients under age 65 and aged 65 and over who were hospitalized for septicemia or sepsis in 2008 were sicker and stayed longer than those hospitalized for other conditions.
  • In 2008, the proportion of hospitalized patients who were discharged to other short-stay hospitals or long-term care institutions was higher for those with septicemia or sepsis (36%) than for those with other conditions (14%). Seventeen percent of septicemia or sepsis hospitalizations ended in death, whereas only 2% of other hospitalizations did.
Septicemia and sepsis are serious bloodstream infections that can rapidly become life-threatening. They arise from various infections, including those of the skin, lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract. Patients with these conditions are often treated in a hospital's intensive care unit. Early aggressive treatment increases the chance of survival. In 2008, an estimated $14.6 billion was spent on hospitalizations for septicemia, and from 1997 through 2008, the inflation-adjusted aggregate costs for treating patients hospitalized for this condition increased on average annually by 11.9%. Despite high treatment expenditures, septicemia and sepsis are often fatal. Those who survive severe sepsis are more likely to have permanent organ damage, cognitive impairment, and physical disability. Septicemia is a leading cause of death. The purpose of this report is to describe the most recent trends in care for hospital inpatients with these diagnoses.

Diagnosing Sepsis and Septicemia

There are a number of tests that can be ordered to determine whether Sepsis or Septicemia is present when a patient presents with signs and symptoms that are consistent with sepsis. These include:
  • White blood cell count that is low or high
  • Platelet count that is low
  • Blood culture that is positive for bacteria
  • Blood gases that reveal acidosis
  • Kidney function tests that are abnormal (early in the course of disease)
  • Peripheral smear may demonstrate a low platelet count and destruction of red blood cells
  • Fibrin degradation products are often elevated, a condition that may be associated with a tendency to bleed
  • Blood differential -- with immature white blood cells seen

Treating Sepsis and Septicemia

Sepsis and Septicemia requires timely and appropriate treatment that generally requires monitoring in an intensive care unit (ICU), the removal of sources such as infected intravenous lines or surgical drains, surgical draining of sources such as abscesses, and "broad spectrum" antibiotic therapy. The type and number of antibiotics administered can be refined once blood cultures and other diagnostic testing identify the causative organism. Supportive therapy with oxygen, intravenous fluids, and medications that increase blood pressure may also be required for a good outcome. Further, dialysis may be necessary in the event of kidney failure, and mechanical ventilation is often required if respiratory failure occurs.

Medical Malpractice

Diagnosis and treatment are criteria in determining a doctor's standard of care. Medical Malpractice is not only when the health care professionally caused an injury, but when they fail to recognize it or treat it appropriately. When this happens, you need an accomplished medical malpractice attorney familiar with this particular issue. The Clore Law Group in Charleston helps people file medical malpractices lawsuits, like Sepsis and Septicemia, if there was negligence involved.

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