Sepsis: The Body’s Deadly Response to Infection

National Institute of General Medical Sciences [Music] Sepsis: The Body’s Deadly Response to Infection Sepsis in the U.S. Causes 250,000 deaths every year Costs more than $20 billion per year Treatment costs are growing three times faster than overall hospital costs Sarah Dunsmore, PhD, manages research grants on sepsis for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) [email protected] Sepsis is an overwhelming total body inflammation. So overwhelming that it is treated as an urgent, life-threatening condition. Sepsis is often the result of an infection in the lungs, kidneys, or urinary tract and can also result when the immune system has been weakened by trauma, burns, or chronic conditions, such as cancer or diabetes. Sepsis occurs when something goes wrong with the body’s normal response to infection. The molecules that are supposed to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses begin to attack someone’s own tissues and organs resulting in low blood pressure, increased heart rate, and confusion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sepsis affects more than 1 million Americans annually and is the ninth leading cause of disease-related death. Sepsis was recently cited as one of the most expensive conditions treated in U.S. hospitals, with an average cost per hospitalization of approximately $18,000 per patient (twice the average cost of other conditions). Currently there are no drugs that are specifically approved to treat sepsis. Common treatments are intravenous fluids and antibiotics. And data from NIGMS-funded researchers and others strongly support the concept of decreasing sepsis mortality by early administration of these treatments. Every hour that sepsis treatment is delayed leads to significantly higher risk of death. Currently NIGMS is supporting clinical
trials that are testing protocols for antibiotic use in sepsis and novel metabolic interventions in septic shock. Some NIGMS researchers are studying what happens to patients that survive septic shock. Are there long-term effects on their organs; for instance, are they more prone to heart attacks and stroke? Some NIGMS researchers use animal models to identify new molecules that can be used as targets for new drugs and biologic
interventions. For more about NIGMS-funded sepsis research, visit NIH Reporter To identify clinical trials investigating new sepsis treatments, visit Produced by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health Images credits: iStock. Music Credits: Free Music Archive. Intro music–Cory Gray, Attic. Outro music — Loco Loco To Meet Again

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