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Infections And Sepsis

Every person, at least once in his lifetime, encounters infection due to bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In some cases, especially in people with a weakened immune system, these infections affect the body to such an extent that immediate medical interventions are certainly required. If not treated promptly, such conditions may lead to sepsis and septic shock, leading to multiple organ dysfunction and failure.

"Critical Care Medicine"

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Diseases and conditions

  • Severe Bacterial Infections: Severe bacterial infections may lead to an extreme immunological response, resulting in sepsis. The complications of sepsis are damaged tissues, organ failure, and death.
  • Severe Fungal Infections: The most common fungal infection that may lead to life-threatening complications is Aspergillus, and the condition caused is Aspergillosis. Although blood infections and meningitis due to fungal infections are not common, if they occur, they may lead to severe complications.
  • Severe Viral Infections: Viral infections, such as Ebola, HIV, and COVID-19, can create havoc in the body's homeostasis and affect multiple organs. People with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of complications due to viral diseases.
  • Severe Tropical Infections: Major tropical diseases, such as malaria, scrub typhus, dengue, and meningitis, if left untreated, may lead to serious symptoms.
  • Septic Shock with Multi-Organ Dysfunction or Failure: Septic shock is characterized by reduced tissue perfusion that may lead to acute failure of vital organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs. It is due to the extreme response of the immune system against infectious or non-infectious agents.

Procedures and treatments

  • Intravenous Fluid Resuscitation: It is one of the most common interventions for the management of critically ill patients. It aims to maintain effective blood volume and avoid dehydration.
  • Shock Management: Hemodynamic management in shock is crucial to prevent progressive organ dysfunction and failure. The doctors at the critical care unit correct hypotension to restore blood pressure. Anemia and hypoxemia are also managed to improve cellular metabolism.
  • Management of Severe malaria, dengue, leptospirosis, and scrub typhus: Doctors recommend supportive therapy through antibiotics along with close monitoring.
  • Management of Multidrug-resistant Infections: Infections not treated with more than one antibiotic are considered multi-drug-resistant infections. These infections are hard to treat. However, certain antibiotics are effective against these infections. The doctor needs to judicially use these antibiotics to prevent drug resistance.
  • Cytokine Filtration Therapies: There are certain methods through which the cytokines are filtered from the blood. The procedure is known as therapeutic apheresis. It is done to control the inflammatory process in the body and improve the condition of critically ill patients. The techniques include hemofiltration and hemoperfusion.
  • ECMO: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation provides cardiopulmonary support in patients whose hearts and lungs are not working properly. It provides time to recover from diseases affecting the heart and lungs.

Faq's

Septic shock with multi-organ dysfunction or failure is a severe condition that occurs when an infection spreads throughout the body, leading to organ damage and failure. It is a life-threatening medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.

Severe bacterial infections are caused by harmful bacteria entering the body and multiplying rapidly. These infections can affect various organs and systems, leading to serious health complications if not promptly treated.

Severe fungal infections occur when fungi invade different parts of the body, often targeting individuals with weakened immune systems. These types of infections can be challenging to treat and may require specialized medical interventions.

ECMO refers to a technique used in critical care situations where blood is pumped outside the body through an artificial membrane oxygenator that provides oxygenation before returning it back into circulation. This method supports heart and lung function in patients with severe respiratory or cardiac issues.

Cytokine filtration therapies involve removing excessive inflammatory substances called cytokines from a patient's bloodstream. This approach helps regulate the immune response during conditions like sepsis or other hyperinflammatory states.

Some of the measures to prevent infections are:

  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Wash hands after using the washroom and before eating food
  • Cover your mouth while coughing
  • Take good care of wounds. In case of severe wounds, consult a doctor.
  • Avoid squeezing pimples or picking at healing wounds
  • Wash and cook the food thoroughly
  • Get vaccinated
  • Practice safe sex

The causes of septic shock are bacterial, viral, and fungal infections along with traumatic injuries. Septic shock occurs when the sepsis is not treated in time.