Top 10 Most Vulnerable Populations
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Did you know that sepsis is the third leading cause of disease in the U.S., and that every two minutes someone dies of the condition? Sadly, it’s true! There are more than 1.6 million cases of sepsis every year in the U.S. It is the most expensive hospital condition, costing more than $20 billion each year.
Sepsis, sometimes called blood poisoning, is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. It occurs when pathogens or their toxins are present in the blood or tissues. Sepsis is considered severe when it occurs in association with signs of organ dysfunction. Septic shock, multiple organ failure, and death often occur if not recognized early and treated promptly. Victims of severe sepsis almost always require treatment in an intensive care unit for several days or weeks. Forty percent of patients with severe sepsis do not survive.
While most cases of sepsis are associated with serious illness or injury, it can occur following routine surgery or minor scrapes and cuts that occur during normal daily activities. The most common causes of sepsis are:
Early assessment and prompt treatment are critical factors known to improve patient outcomes. It is important for healthcare professionals to look for warning signs, which include:
For every hour treatment for sepsis is delayed, the risk of death increases by 7.6%. It should be considered a medical emergency with treatment initiated as soon as it is identified. Standard treatment includes IV antibiotics and IV fluids. Other treatments, such as medications to increase blood pressure, oxygen, or dialysis may also be needed depending on the patient’s unique needs and conditions.
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Anyone with infection is at risk for developing sepsis; however, some are more vulnerable than others. Here are the 10 most vulnerable populations:
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Others include a fever above 101.3 F or below 95 F, heart rate greater than 90 BPM, and possible or confirmed infection.×