What is sepsis?
From the Greek language, sepsis means “decomposition”. People often call the disease, “blood poisoning.” However, the Greek definition better explains the process that occurs in the body. During sepsis, a large number of purulent foci form throughout the body form.
The most common pathogens that result in infection are staph bacteria, streptococci, Escherichia coli, and various fungi.
Body infection can also occur due to a large number of toxins that are secreted by bacteria in the process of life. This is poison for the body. Toxins quickly weaken the immune system and spread throughout all organs and systems.
Causes of sepsis in adults
The most common cause of sepsis is harmful microorganisms penetrating the blood – bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The more the body becomes infected, more severe the disease progresses. This is especially true in cases when infection occurs immediately by several types of pathogens.
Sepsis can often develop with a weakened immune system. This occurs with cancer, HIV, the use of drugs that weaken the immune system, radiation therapy, and other factors.
In some cases, sepsis can develop with the spread of bacteria that are beneficial to the body. For example, intestinal bacteria that help digest food. With weakened immunity, these bacteria become dangerous. When they enter the bloodstream, intoxication develops.
Types of sepsis in adults
Sepsis can develop on a background of various infectious diseases. For instance:
- severe sore throat;
- oncological diseases;
- inflammation of the middle ear (otitis media);
- other severe wounds and infections.
There are three phases of the development of sepsis:
- toxemia is the initial phase of the disease in which the pathogen leaves the primary focus of infection. It is accompanied by activation of the immune system in response to infection;
- septicemia – a deterioration in the overall patient ‘s condition as a result of the penetration of microorganisms or their toxins into the blood;
- septicopyemia – with this form of sepsis, along with general intoxication, metastatic abscesses (purulent foci) are formed in the body. They can be found in various tissues and organs.
According to the type of flow, there is:
- fulminant sepsis with the rapid development of septic shock and death in 1-2 days;
- acute sepsis with acute inflammatory reaction within 5-28 days;
- subacute – the disease lasts about 3-4 months;
- chronic – can last up to several years.
Symptoms of sepsis in adults
Symptoms of the disease may vary depending on the location of the primary localization of infection. However, there are general symptoms that occur in all types of diseases. Usually, this is a sharp increase in temperature, fever can periodically be replaced by chills.
When the disease begins to progress, the patient’s appearance changes, the features are sharpened and the complexion changes, rashes (ulcers) appear on the skin. If the disease is acute, the patient may develop exhaustion, dehydration and pressure sores. Other symptoms of sepsis include:
- weakness, retardation of consciousness;
- weak pulse, arrhythmia;
- respiratory failure;
- alternating constipation and diarrhea;
- violation of urination due to the development of toxic nephritis;
- turbid secretions from wounds.
The diagnosis of sepsis in adults is based on the isolation of microorganisms from the blood (bacteria, fungi). For this, a diagnosis of venous blood, biochemical and general analysis is conducted. In addition, from a purulent localization, the material is taken for further study. With a positive reaction, sepsis diagnosis is established. All of the above actions allow you to assess the general condition of the patient. Ultrasound, x-ray, and MRI can identify foci of infection.
According to statistics, about 50% of cases of sepsis are fatal. However, it is still possible to cure the disease if you make a diagnosis in time and start treatment.
Typically, such patients are placed in an intensive care unit, where, under the supervision of specialists, antibacterial, detoxification, and symptomatic therapy are carried out. If necessary, immunostimulating agents are prescribed to support the work of important organs.
You can only remove the focus of infection by surgery, completely removing the abscess. In the most severe cases, it is necessary to remove the entire organ.
In order to destroy infection’s causative agent, antibiotics are administered intravenously, to which the microorganisms are most sensitive.
The duration of sepsis treatment is about 2 weeks. The patient can be considered recovered after full normalization of temperature and the absence of pathogens in two blood cultures.