Findings from a new study reveal that sepsis is a common cause of deaths in hospitals.The study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, looked at more than 500 people with an average age of 70 years who had died in hospitals.
Nearly 200 of them had died immediately due to sepsis, while another 100 also had sepsis but did not die of it. The researchers claim only 36 deaths may have been prevented with timely antibiotic treatment.
Researchers are asking vulnerable elderly to stay vigilant against the threat of sepsis and to not take it lightly.
Dr. Chanu Ree is a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the lead author of the study. He says that many hospital patients with sepsis are old and weak, suffering from multiple diseases and often do not survive even when given timely and suitable treatment.
Dr. Rhee says, “there’s a perception that sepsis deaths are preventable and this study questions that perception.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on an average, three million Americans are diagnosed with sepsis ever year. And between 15 percent to 30 percent of that number die each year.
Although elderly people are primarily affected by sepsis, children are also vulnerable to it. According to one estimate, more than 40,000 American children develop sepsis every year, leading to more than 4,000 deaths.
Symptoms of sepsis include extreme pain and tenderness, chills or fever, sweaty skin, disorientation, shortness of breath and an increased heart rate.
If you are worried someone you know may have sepsis, seek medical care immediately. Always ask the doctor, “could it be sepsis?”
Dr. Steven Simpson is a medical director of the not for profit Sepsis Alliance and a Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Kansas.
Dr. Simpson highlights the importance of being more cautious, especially in vulnerable population segments such as the elderly and the very young. The objective should be to catch sepsis as early as possible so that treatment can be initiated immediately. He says “It is important to keep check with people who have cancer, heart failure, kidney disease, and lung disease.” He emphasized that sepsis is a serious threat to a patient’s well-being and that symptoms of sepsis should not be ignored.