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Sepsis: When an Ordinary Infection Turns Deadly

An infection can be as dangerous as a heart attack if sepsis strikes. The response should be just as urgent.

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta

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Sepsis happens when the immune system gets confused. Instead of attacking the invading bacteria or virus, the immune system overreacts and attacks the body itself. Any infection can become septic, and there is little time to lose when that happens.

When sepsis strikes outside a hospital, it is fatal 75 percent of the time. Even when it strikes inside a hospital, it is fatal 25 percent of the time.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is trying to improve those odds. They have created an emergency response team for sepsis, similar to the emergency teams that respond when a patient’s heart has stopped. "It becomes very important that this is recognized early,” said Kannan Ramar, MD, a specialist in critical care at the Mayo Clinic. “It’s similar to treating a heart attack or stroke where you have a very short window.”

That window is six hours. To be able to respond in time, Mayo continually monitors patients’ heart rate, temperature and blood pressure. If there are red flags, a blood test is performed. If sepsis is discovered, the response team goes into action.






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Date: 06.12.2018, 19:24 / Views: 45175