EDITOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to our guest blogger, Bob Sullivan. Bob Sullivan, MS, NRP, is a paramedic instructor at Delaware Technical Community College. He has been in EMS since 1999, and has worked as a paramedic in private, fire-based, volunteer, and municipal EMS services, and is an ally to Pulsara.
Sepsis is the third leading cause of death in the United States , and survival depends on early recognition and treatment. Here are 10 things you need to know about sepsis to save lives:
1. Sepsis is an overreaction to infection that can progress to shock.
Sepsis is a body-wide inflammatory response to infection that injures tissues and organs. Harm from this immune response is often worse than damage from the actual infection. Sepsis can be triggered by relatively minor infections, and can continue after the invading microbes are neutralized.
Sepsis causes blood clots to form in the microvasculature, which inhibits oxygen delivery and causes vital organs to fail. Severe sepsis also causes systemic vasodilation and increased capillary permeability, which causes hypotension and fluid leakage out of the vascular space. This causes septic shock, which further inhibits perfusion to vital organs. Forty percent of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis die.