COPD And Sepsis
People with COPD have a higher than average risk of developing lung infections, such as pneumonia, which then puts them at higher risk for developing sepsis. Sometimes incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body's often deadly response to infection. ... Worldwide, one-third of people who develop sepsis die.
A life-threatening complication of an infection.
Sepsis occurs when chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. This can cause a cascade of changes that damage multiple organ systems, leading them to fail, sometimes even resulting in death.
CommonMore than 200,000 US cases per year
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging always required
Treatable by a medical professional
Short-term: resolves within days to weeks
Critical: needs emergency care
Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, fast heart rate, and mental confusion.
Whole body: chills, dizziness, fatigue, fever, flushing, low blood pressure, low body temperature, or shivering
Cognitive: altered level of consciousness or mental confusion
Respiratory: fast breathing or shortness of breath
Also common: delirium, fast heart rate, insufficient urine production, organ dysfunction, skin discoloration, or sleepiness
Doctors often order several tests to try to pinpoint underlying infection.
A blood sample drawn from two distinct sites is tested for:
* Evidence of infection
* Clotting problems
* Abnormal liver or kidney function
* Impaired oxygen availability
* Electrolyte imbalances
Other laboratory tests
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also want to run tests on one or more of the following bodily fluids:
* Urine. If your doctor suspects that you have a urinary tract infection, he or she may want to check your urine for signs of bacteria.
* Wound secretions. If you have a wound that appears infected, testing a sample of the wound's secretions can help show what type of antibiotic might work best.
* Respiratory secretions. If you are coughing up mucus (sputum), it may be tested to determine what type of germ is causing the infection.
If the site of infection is not obvious, your doctor may order one or more of the following imaging tests:
* X-ray. X-rays are good for visualizing problems in your lungs.
* Computerized tomography (CT). Infections in your appendix or pancreas are easier to see on CT scans. This technology takes X-rays from a variety of angles and combines them to depict cross-sectional slices of your body's internal structures.
* Ultrasound. This technology uses sound waves to produce real-time images on a video monitor. Ultrasound may be particularly useful to check for infections in your gallbladder or ovaries.
* Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRIs may be helpful in identifying soft tissue infections. This technology uses radio waves and a strong magnet to produce cross-sectional images of the internal structures of your body.
Early, aggressive treatment boosts your chances of surviving sepsis. People who have sepsis require close monitoring and treatment in a hospital intensive care unit. If you have sepsis or septic shock, lifesaving measures may be needed to stabilize breathing and heart function.
A number of medications are used in treating sepsis and septic shock. They include:
* Antibiotics. Treatment with antibiotics should begin immediately. Initially you'll receive broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are effective against a variety of bacteria. The antibiotics are administered intravenously (IV). After learning the results of blood tests, your doctor may switch to a different antibiotic that's targeted to fight the particular bacteria causing the infection.
* Intravenous fluids. People who have sepsis often receive intravenous fluids right away, usually within three hours.
* Vasopressors. If your blood pressure remains too low even after receiving intravenous fluids, you may be given a vasopressor medication, which constricts blood vessels and helps to increase blood pressure.
Other medications you may receive include low doses of corticosteroids, insulin to help maintain stable blood sugar levels, drugs that modify the immune system responses, and painkillers or sedatives.
People who have sepsis often receive supportive care that includes oxygen. Depending on your condition, you may need to have a machine help you breathe. If your kidneys have been affected, you may need to have dialysis.
Surgery may be needed to remove sources of infection, such as collections of pus (abscesses), infected tissues or gangrene
Most often, sepsis occurs in people who are hospitalized or who have recently been hospitalized. People in the intensive care unit are especially vulnerable to developing infections, which can then lead to sepsis. If you develop signs and symptoms of sepsis after surgery or after being hospitalized, seek medical care immediately.
Sepsis and septic shock are more common if you:
* Are very young or very old
* Have a compromised immune system
* Have diabetes or cirrhosis
* Are already very sick, often in a hospital intensive care unit
* Have wounds or injuries, such as burns
* Have invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes
* Have previously received antibiotics or corticosteroids
Sepsis ranges from less to more severe. As sepsis worsens, blood flow to vital organs, such as your brain, heart and kidneys, becomes impaired. Sepsis can also cause blood clots to form in your organs and in your arms, legs, fingers and toes — leading to varying degrees of organ failure and tissue death (gangrene).
Most people recover from mild sepsis, but the average mortality rate for septic shock is about 40 percent. Also, an episode of severe sepsis may place you at higher risk of future infections.
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