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Q.

How is sepsis (blood poisoning) treated?

Related Topics: Sepsis, Poisoning
 

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A.

In almost every case of sepsis, patients need to be hospitalized, treated with appropriate intravenous antibiotics, and given therapy to support any organ dysfunction. Sepsis can quickly cause organ damage and death. Therapy should not be delayed, as statistics suggest as high as a 7% mortality increase per hour if antibiotics are delayed in severe sepsis. Most cases of sepsis are treated in an intensive care unit of the hospital.

Appropriate antibiotics to treat sepsis are combinations of two or three antibiotics given at the same time; most combinations usually include vancomycin to treat many MRSA infections. However, once the infecting organism is isolated, labs can determine which antibiotics are most effective against the organisms, and those antibiotics should be used to treat the patient. In addition to antibiotics, two other major therapeutic interventions, organ-system support and surgery, may be needed. First, if an organ system needs support, the intensive care unit can often provide it (for example, intubation to support lung function or dialysis to support kidney function). Secondly, surgery may be needed to drain or remove the source of infection. Amputation of extremities has been done to save some patients' lives.

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: Sepsis