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Septicemia, Blood Poisoning

Friday, July 27th 2012. | Blood Health, Disease

Septicemia Definition

Under normal conditions, the immune system is capable of fighting against pathogens from outside. The resulting infections are “local infections”.

The term sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, means a serious infection of the body characterized by the presence of pathogens in blood, the lymphatic vessels and organs of the body.

When sepsis is recognized early and treated appropriately, the chances of recovery are good. In the absence of treatment or if treatment too late, sepsis can lead very quickly to the dysfunction of many organs and, thereafter, the patient’s death.

Septicemia Causes

In most cases, pathogens are viruses, bacteria or fungi. When the body is no longer able to fight against infection locally, pathogens can spread throughout the body via the bloodstream.

In principle, any infection may be complicated by septicemia. Frequent causes of sepsis are :

Septicemia Other risk factors:

  • Weak immune system in case of leukemia, HIV infection, chemotherapy, among very elderly or debilitated
  • Large ulcers as such. after burns
  • Surgery

Septicemia (img : thanks to careman.wordpress.com)

Septicemia Symptoms

Symptoms of sepsis can be very uncharacteristic. For this reason, the diagnosis is often delayed.

Common symptoms:

  • Pain, redness, swelling at the site of infection
  • General feeling of illness
  • Chills and high fever

Important Note: The widespread belief that a red line stretching from the site of infection to the heart is indicative of a state of sepsis is absolutely false! In this specific case, but rather an acute inflammation of the lymphatic channels and is also called lymphangitis. By cons, it is possible that lymphangitis is complicated by septicemia.

At a later stage, the following symptoms may be added :

  • Confusion, dizziness, syncope due to hypotension
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Apathy, pallor
  • Voltage drop with onset of shock = medical emergency.

Septicemia Diagnosis

Sepsis can be divided into three stages:

  • Sepsis, severe sepsis, septic shock

Septicemia Identification of the infection

  • Determination of pathogen in the blood
  • Blood tests: parameters of inflammation

Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS); presence of at least two criteria:

  • Temperature (above 38 ° C or below 36 ° (hypothermia).
  • Rapid heartbeat (over 100 beats / min = tachycardia)
  • Rapid breathing (more than 20 cycles / min. = Tachypnea or hyperventilation)
  • Increase or decrease in white cells in blood (leukocytosis or leukopenia)

Septicemia Acute organ failure

  • Changes in brain activity, confusion, agitation, delirium
  • Decrease in the number of platelets in the blood in 24, which is not due to hemorrhage or immunological disease
  • Decrease in blood oxygen content, in which case, should be eliminated as a causal factor in heart or lung
  • Kidney disorders may occur with renal failure
  • Metabolic acidosis with excessively high content of carbonic acid in blood

Sepsis criteria 1 and 2 =
Severe sepsis criteria 1 to 3 =
Septic shock criteria 1 and 2 = more fall in blood pressure below 65 mm Hg for at least an hour.

The lack of appropriate treatment rapidly leads dysfunction of important organs, such as cardiovascular system, kidneys, lungs, liver, etc..

Septicemia Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the stage of sepsis and the pathogen.

Therapy: treatment with antibiotic may eliminate outbreaks.

The following measures may be indicated:

  • Blood transfusion, administration of packed red cells
  • Artificial ventilation, treatment of shock
  • Artificial feeding, insulin administration and treatment monitoring
  • Treatment of bleeding disorders
  • Hemodialysis in case of failure of the kidneys

Septicemia Possible Complications

Without treatment and proper medical supervision, the chances of survival are poor. Approx. 25-40% of patients die despite antibiotic treatment and care of emergency medicine, most often because septicemia was diagnosed too late.

Septicemia Preventive Measures

  • An immune system in good condition and appropriate antibiotic therapy can in many cases to avoid a state of sepsis.
  • If possible, surgical removal of the infectious focus.
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