Sepsis Fact Sheet
Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to infection. The body attacks its own organs and tissues which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.
Signs of sepsis include:
- Rapid breathing and fast heartbeat
- Pale or mottled skin
- Confusion or sleepiness
- Fever and chills
- Feeling the sickest you’ve ever felt
- Extreme pain
If you detect even a few of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately and ask, “could it be sepsis”
Sepsis results from any kind of infection, most commonly from a bacterial infection. Cuts and scrapes, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and post-operative infections can all lead to sepsis.
The risk of developing sepsis can be reduced by practicing good hygiene, including washing hands regularly, caring for even minor cuts and scrapes using basic first aid techniques (especially keeping wounds clean), and by staying up to date on vaccinations.
Early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis significantly boosts one’s chances of survival. Sepsis is treated with antibiotics and IV fluids. In most cases, broad spectrum antibiotics will be administered. Once blood tests have been performed, antibiotics that target the particular strain of bacterium responsible for the infection may be used.
Who’s At Risk
Sepsis can impact anyone – young or old, sick or healthy. Those with increased risk of infection include:
- People with chronic illness such as diabetes
- Those with weakened immune systems
- The elderly
- Very young children
While some survivors of sepsis make a full recovery, others suffer long term consequences, including amputated limbs, organ dysfunction such as kidney damage, chronic fatiguef, cognitive disorders and memory loss, and depression.
Sepsis in the United States
- More than 1.5 million people in the United States develop sepsis each year. [i]
- At least 250,000 people in the United States die each year from sepsis. [ii]
- Sepsis is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals. [iii] As many of half of all patients who die in U.S. hospitals have sepsis. [iv]
- Sepsis is increasing at a rate of 10.3% each year in the United States. [v]
- One in five severe sepsis patients are readmitted to hospital within 30 days. Among those readmitted within 30 days, 66.9% had an infection and 40.3% had severe sepsis on readmission. [vi]
- Sepsis begins outside the hospital for the vast majority (nearly 80%) of sepsis patients. [vii]
- Sepsis is the most expensive condition treated un U.S. hospitals, costing nearly $24 billion annually. Sepsis is also the most expensive condition billed to Medicare. [viii]
- The cost of sepsis is increasing annually by a rate of 11.9%. [ix]
Sepsis Around the Globe
- Sepsis affects, at minimum, an estimated 30 million people around the world each year and results in at least 6 million deaths. [x]
- In the developing world, sepsis accounts for 60-80% of lost lives per year, affecting more than 6 million newborns and children annually. [xi]
Sepsis and Children
- Sepsis is the leading cause of death for infants and children worldwide. [xii]
- 40,000 children in the United States are hospitalized each year with sepsis. [xiii]
- Approximately 5,000 children in the United States die each year from sepsis. [xiv]
- Every hour delay in treating a child with sepsis increases mortality by 8%. [xv]
- The economic cost of treating pediatric sepsis is estimated to be $4.8 billion annually.[xvi]
- 38% of children who survive sepsis sustain lifelong disabilities. [xvii]