Do you know that sepsis can be a fatal condition and has some of the most devastating consequences if not diagnosed immediately and treated? But first, let us know what sepsis is. Sepsis takes place in our body when our immune system reacts hazardously to any infection. It causes sudden and widespread inflammation all over the body, which eventually leads to the damage of our body tissues resulting in organ failure, and then death. Sepsis is regarded as a medical emergency, and various types of infections can lead to sepsis. The faster you receive the treatment, the faster you get away from a life-threatening condition. 

Sepsis occurs in stages, and its progression varies on numerous factors such as type of infection, comprehensive health of the patient, and the regular check-up history of the patient. To be clinically correct, it is not easy to find out the period for how long it takes to die from sepsis. Quick acknowledgment of the sepsis and immediate medical and clinical arrangements are important to increase the chances of survival of the patient. In this blog, we will learn how long it takes to die from sepsis, complications related to sepsis, what sepsis is, types of infections causing sepsis, etc. Scroll down to learn more about how long does it take to die from sepsis and other details.

WHAT IS A SEPSIS INFECTION?

Before we get to know how long does it take to die from sepsis, let’s check out in detail what the infection is all about. 

Sepsis infection can lead to a fatal medical condition which is propertied by systemic inflammatory response to any hazardous infection. Sepsis occurs when the immune system of a body readily responds to the infection, later the response becomes unregulated, which leads to widespread swelling and later, into organ failure or dysfunction. Sepsis is a wide-ranged life-threatening condition that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment to save the life of the patient suffering from sepsis. Each year, about 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis, and at least, 350,000 die during their hospitalization or are discharged to hospice.

ALSO CALLED SEPTICEMIA
COMMON MORE THAN 1 MILLION CASES PER YEAR (INDIA)
REQUIRE MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS YES
REQUIRE LAB TESTS OR IMAGING YES (IMPORTANT)
TREATABLE BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL YES
SHORT TERM RESOLVES WITHIN DAYS TO WEEKS
CRITICAL NEEDS EMERGENCY CARE

WHAT CAUSES SEPSIS INFECTION?

Septic infection, or sepsis, is caused by the presence of an infection in the body. The infection can be bacterial, viral, fungal, or even parasitic in nature. Common sources of infection that can lead to sepsis include:

Bacterial infections

Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Klebsiella pneumoniae are known to cause sepsis. These infections can originate from various sites, such as the lungs (pneumonia), urinary tract (urinary tract infection), abdomen (peritonitis), or skin (cellulitis).

Common bacteria that cause sepsis include:

Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Site of origination of the bacterial infection include:

  •   Lungs- pneumonia
  •   Urinary tract- urinary tract infection
  •   Abdomen- peritonitis
  •   Skin- cellulitis

Viral infections

While less common, viral infections can also lead to sepsis. Examples include influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV).

  •   Influenza- flu
  •   Respiratory syncytial virus- RSV
  •   Herpes simplex virus- HSV

Fungal infections 

Fungal infections such as candidiasis, aspergillosis, or histoplasmosis can cause sepsis, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems.

Parasitic infections

Although rare, certain parasitic infections can result in sepsis, such as malaria or toxoplasmosis.

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It’s important to note that sepsis can occur as a result of any type of infection, not just specific pathogens. The presence of these infections triggers an exaggerated immune response, leading to systemic inflammation and potential organ dysfunction.

HOW DO WE GET SEPSIS?

Sepsis occurs when an infection, typically bacterial, spreads throughout the body and triggers a systemic inflammatory response. In short, sepsis occurs through an infection (preferably bacterial) and then spreads throughout the body triggering the immune system excessively and then resulting in a response of systemic inflammation or potential organ dysfunction. Before we get to know how long does it take to die from sepsis let’s check out some of the ways to get sepsis:

1. Infections in the respiratory system

Pneumonia, bronchitis, or other lung infections can lead to sepsis if the infection spreads beyond the lungs and enters the bloodstream. These kinds of infections include:

  • Pneumonia, bronchitis, or other lung infection
  • These infections spread all over the lungs and beyond it, and later enter the bloodstream causing sepsis.

2. UTIs (Urinary tract infections)

When a UTI, such as a bladder or kidney infection, is left untreated or becomes severe, bacteria can enter the bloodstream, causing sepsis. Urinary tract infections, such as kidney infection or bladder infection can also cause sepsis if it is kept untreated for a longer period. The infection can become severe if bacteria enter the bloodstream, hence causing sepsis.

3. Abdominal infections

Infections in the abdominal cavity, such as appendicitis, peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining), or abscesses, can lead to sepsis if the infection spreads to other organs or enters the bloodstream. These infections include:

Appendicitis, peritonitis which is the inflammation of the abdominal lining, or abscesses, all of these can lead to sepsis when the abdominal infections spread over the body and enter into the human bloodstream.

4. Skin and soft tissue infections

Serious skin infections like cellulitis, infected wounds, or deep tissue infections can progress to sepsis if left untreated or if the bacteria invade the bloodstream. Skin infections like cellulitis some kind of seriously infected wounds, or other deep tissue infections can lead to sepsis. If the skin and soft tissue infections are left untreated for a long time, bacterial infection can enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis.

5. Infections from medical procedures

Invasive medical procedures, such as surgeries, catheter insertions, or intravenous line placements, can introduce bacteria into the body, increasing the risk of sepsis. Surgeries, injecting a catheter, intravenous line placements, introduction of bacteria into the body, or other serious invasive medical procedures can cause sepsis too. 

6. Infections in the bloodstream

Sometimes, bacteria can directly enter the bloodstream from an infection site or due to conditions like bloodstream infections (septicemia) or infected intravenous lines. When a bacterium enters the bloodstream directly from an infection site or sometimes due to septicemia (septicemia- bloodstream infection), it can increase the risk of infections and later sepsis.

SYMPTOMS OF SEPSIS

The symptoms of sepsis can vary depending on the stage of the condition. Sepsis is typically categorized into three stages: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock. There is a wide-ranging symptom of sepsis that depends on the stage of sepsis and its condition. We should bring this to your knowledge is sepsis is divided into three stages:

  • Sepsis
  • Severe sepsis
  • Sepsis shock

Now, here we have the basic symptoms associated with each stage:

SEPSIS
  • Fever or abnormally low body temperature (chills)
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating
  • Decreased urine output

 

 

SEVERE SEPSIS
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased platelet count
  • Changes in mental status or consciousness
  • Unconsciousness or coma
  • Decreased urine output
  • Skin rash or mottled skin
  • Cool extremities (arms and legs)
  • Signs of organ dysfunction or failure, such as liver or kidney dysfunction

 

 

SEPSIS SHOCK
  • Extremely low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Rapid and weak pulse
  • Difficulty in maintaining consciousness
  • Organ failure, including lung, heart, liver, or kidney failure
  • Significant decrease in urine output

It is important to note that not all individuals with sepsis will experience the same symptoms, and the severity and progression of symptoms can vary. If you suspect sepsis or experience any signs of infection along with systemic symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to improve the chances of survival.

Stage of sepsis?

Sepsis can be classified into different stages based on the severity and progression of the condition. The stages of sepsis are generally described as follows:

Sepsis:

Sepsis is the initial stage and is characterised by the body’s response to an infection. During this stage, there is evidence of infection along with a systemic inflammatory response. Symptoms may include fever or abnormally low body temperature (chills), rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, confusion or disorientation, fatigue, and decreased urine output.

Severe Sepsis:

Severe sepsis is a more advanced stage of sepsis and involves organ dysfunction or failure. In addition to the symptoms of sepsis, individuals with severe sepsis may experience manifestations of organ dysfunction. This can include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, changes in mental status or consciousness, decreased platelet count, skin rash or mottled skin, and signs of organ dysfunction, such as liver or kidney dysfunction.

Septic Shock:

Septic shock is the most severe stage of sepsis. It is characterized by a significant drop in blood pressure (hypotension) that does not respond adequately to fluid resuscitation. Septic shock occurs when sepsis leads to impaired blood flow to vital organs, resulting in organ failure. Symptoms of septic shock include extremely low blood pressure, lightheadedness or dizziness, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty maintaining consciousness, organ failure (lung, heart, liver, or kidney), and a significant decrease in urine output.

It is important to note that the progression from sepsis to severe sepsis and septic shock can vary among individuals, and not all individuals with sepsis will progress to the more advanced stages. Early recognition, prompt medical intervention, and appropriate treatment are crucial in managing sepsis effectively and improving outcomes.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEPSIS AND SEPSIS SHOCK

  SEPSIS SEPSIS SHOCK
DEFINITION Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is caused by an infection. A severe form of sepsis characterized by profound hypotension (low blood pressure) that does not adequately respond to fluid resuscitation.
CAUSE Infection (bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic) Complications of sepsis where the infection and inflammation cause widespread damage to blood vessels.
SEVERITY Moderate to severe Severe and life-threatening
ORGAN DYSFUNCTION Can occur but may not be present Frequently associated with organ dysfunction or failure
BLOOD PRESSURE May be normal or decreased Markedly decreased despite fluid resuscitation
SYMPTOMS Fever or abnormally low body temperature, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, confusion or disorientation, fatigue, decreased urine output Extremely low blood pressure, lightheadedness or dizziness, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty maintaining consciousness, organ failure, a significant decrease in urine output
TREATMENT Early recognition, appropriate antibiotics, fluid resuscitation, and supportive care Aggressive fluid resuscitation, administration of vasopressor medications, antibiotics, and supportive care
PROGNOSIS With timely treatment, the prognosis can be improved Septic shock has a higher mortality rate compared to sepsis

How long does it take to die from sepsis?

The time it takes for an individual to die from sepsis can vary depending on several factors, including the underlying cause of sepsis, the person’s overall health, and the promptness and effectiveness of medical intervention. In some cases, sepsis can progress rapidly, leading to severe complications and death within a matter of hours or days. However, with early recognition, timely medical treatment, and appropriate supportive care, the chances of survival can significantly improve.

Conclusive Insights

The time it takes for an individual to die from sepsis can vary depending on several factors, including the underlying cause of sepsis, the person’s overall health, and the promptness and effectiveness of medical intervention. In some cases, sepsis can progress rapidly, leading to severe complications and death within a matter of hours or days. However, with early recognition, timely medical treatment, and appropriate supportive care, the chances of survival can significantly improve.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1: What are the common causes of sepsis?

Ans: Sepsis can be caused by bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections.

Q2: What are the early signs and symptoms of sepsis?

Ans: Early signs of sepsis include fever, rapid heart rate, and confusion.

Q3: How is sepsis diagnosed?

Ans: Diagnosis of sepsis involves assessing symptoms, blood tests, and identifying the source of infection.

Q4: Can sepsis be treated?

Ans: Yes, sepsis can be treated with antibiotics, intravenous fluids, and supportive care.

Q5: What are the long-term effects of sepsis?

Ans: Survivors of sepsis may experience long-term physical, psychological, or cognitive effects.

Q6. How does a person get sepsis?

Ans. Sepsis can occur due to any kind of infection and it does not depend on the variety of pathogens carrying it. The existence of these infections in the human body triggers the immune system excessively and as a severe response, systemic inflammation and later organ failure or potential organ dysfunction.

Q7. What are the signs of early sepsis?

Ans. Fever or abnormally low body temperature (chills)

  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Muscle pain

Q8. Is sepsis painful?

Ans. Yes