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Health Threats Are Not Made For Some Sepsis Survivors


FRIDAY, August 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) – Sepsis is a life-threatening infection that lands its victims in the hospital, but the dangers do not end for survivors who have high levels of inflammation long after they have been discharged, a new study finds.

"Sepsis is the leading cause of death among hospitalized patients. Patients discharged from the hospital are not yet out of the forest. About one in three surviving patients will die within the next year," said study author Sachin Yende. . He is a Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"Our new findings on chronic inflammation after discharge suggest that treating this condition may be important in improving patients' long-term outcomes," added Yende, vice president of critical care and deputy director of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Almost all patients with sepsis increased inflammation in their bloodstream during the first days of hospitalization, but how long the inflammation may persist and what effects it may be unclear.

To find out, the researchers followed 483 people who survived hospitalization with sepsis in 12 U.S. hospitals between 2012 and 2017. They were evaluated at three, six, and 12 months after hospitalization.

Until one year after hospitalization, about a quarter of the patients had high levels of inflammation and half had high levels of immunosuppressive biomarkers, the findings showed.

These patients had higher rates of readmission to hospital (especially due to heart disease and stroke) and death than patients whose inflammation levels returned to normal after hospitalization.

According to senior study author Dr. Derek Angus, "Participants with increased inflammation had levels twice as high as levels in healthy individuals, and this elevated inflammation persisted long after hospital discharge." Angus is chair of the medical care department at the University of Pittsburgh.

"Sepsis increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and, for the first time, we have linked these adverse outcomes to persistent inflammation," he said in a university news release. "This opens the door to future studies on why high levels of inflammation persist at least one year after hospital discharge and the development of treatments aimed at modifying inflammation in the hope that it will improve health."

The study was published online on 7 August in JAMA Network Open.

Sepsis affects more than 30 million people worldwide annually, according to the World Health Organization.

More information

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on sepsis.

SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh, news release, August 7, 2019

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