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Sepsis and Its ComplicationsEvery minute of every day, two people die from sepsis in the United States. It is the leading cause of death in hospital ICUs, taking more lives than breast, colon/rectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer combined. Even more alarming, according to a recent report by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, sepsis is becoming more common.
"Sepsis can strike anyone, but it often develops from infections associated with trauma, surgery, burns or cancer," said Jean-Louis Vincent, M.D., Ph.D., FCCM, Professor and Head of the Department of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital, University of Brussels, Belgium. "When someone dies of 'complications' from cancer or pneumonia, it is more than likely caused by severe sepsis."
Sepsis is the body's response to an infection. Patients developing sepsis progress from ill to seriously ill, to major organ dysfunction and failure (severe sepsis) and then to potentially fatal septic shock.
What can we do to prevent sepsis? The following tips can help:
Reviewed by: John E. Morley, M.D..
October 22, 2002
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