Sunday, 6 May 2012

Septic shock

(Severe infection low pressure)

Occurs when an infection, usually bacterial, overwhelms the body's normal defenses. The bacteria produce toxins that cause the blood vessels to dilate and prevent the heart from beating normally. Many patients experience low blood pressure and this is called septic shock. Left untreated patients die of multi-organ failure. Unfortunately even with treatment the disorder is frequently fatal. Almost any infection can result in sepsis although the most common are pneumonia (lung infection), urinary tract infection (bladder infection), and cellulitis (skin infection). Patients with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk of this disorder. These patients include: diabetics, patients on chemotherapy, HIV patients, patients taken powerful medications for auto immune diseases, infants, elderly patients, and patients with chronic diseases.

Fever, low body temperature, hyperventilation, chills, shaking, warm skin, skin rash, rapid heart beat, confusion, delirium, decreased urine output, weak pulse.

Treatment should be started as soon as possible and includes: broad spectrum antibiotics, intravenous fluids, medications to support the blood pressure (pressors), supplemental oxygen, and or blood transfusion.

Tests are performed to establish the diagnosis, identify the bacteria, and determine the extent of the damage.

Other Specific Tests:
Lactate, Arterial blood gas (ABG), blood cultures, urine cultures