What is Post-Sepsis Syndrome?
Post-Sepsis Syndrome (PSS) is a condition that affects up to 50% of sepsis survivors. And can last for years. It includes physical and/or psychological long-term effects. The following is a list of the most common symptoms. Please remember that some people have only 1 or 2 of these symptoms and some will have many.
- Difficulty with memory or concentration. Decrease in cognitive and mental/emotional functioning.
- Difficulty sleeping, either difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep This can include nightmares and/or hallucinations.
- Depression and/or anxiety, loss of self esteem, irritability.
- Disabling muscle or joint pain.
- Muscle weakness and fatigue.
- Exhaustion: mental and physical. Decreased stamina in body function and mind.
- Difficulty swallowing (will need to see a speech therapist and otolaryngologist and neurologist).
- Decreased immune function. Increased susceptibility to another infection and increased risk of sepsis for at least one year.
- Disability secondary to sepsis due to amputations or long terms complications of organ damage.
- Difficulty completing routine daily tasks around the house. Bathing, walking, preparing food, etc.
- Setbacks and longer term difficulties in controlling and stabilizing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease.
Because the risk of sepsis from an infection is higher than if you never had sepsis, it is critical to address health concerns and be extremely aware and proactive for prevention and early detection of infection and sepsis. I will not hesitate to send you to the hospital if you show signs of infection or sepsis. And I will help you and your loved ones become aware of the earliest signs of infection and/or sepsis and encourage you to err on the side of caution and get treated for an infection or evaluated at an ER for sepsis at the first sign, even if it shows to be a false alarm. Because of the speed with which sepsis can take off and risk life, it only makes sense to err on the side of caution. The best way to avoid additional infection and/or a bout of sepsis is to optimize your health and functioning.
What is Sepsis?
How common is Sepsis?
It is much bigger than people realize. Sepsis is a global health crisis. In the US, about 1.7 million people get sepsis each year. About 270,000 people die each year in the US because of sepsis. It affects people of all ages and races and ethnicities.
Many surviving patients suffer from the consequences of sepsis for the rest of their lives. This is part of the “Post-Sepsis Syndrome”. When people leave a hospital and survived, that is often the end of their care. That is where a doctor like me can be of help. I understand sepsis, have a loved one who survived sepsis but had post sepsis syndrome, and now have treated a good number of people with the consequences of sepsis to regain as much function and health as possible.
How can I avoid Sepsis?
A key is to survive sepsis is to know the signs and get to an Emergency Room ASAP. We all get infections from time to time and they do not result in sepsis. Awareness of when that infection is setting off sepsis is critical. Every hour counts.
Remember ANYONE can get sepsis.
What kind of infection can cause Sepsis?
Because sepsis is an illness that is in response to infection, ANY bacteria, virus or parasite can set off the reaction that leads to life-threatening sepsis. From influenza viruses to viral meningitis to Sars-CoV-2 (Covid-19)) for viruses. For bacteria, it can be from bacteria causing a urinary tract infection, or bacterial pneumonia, or an infection after surgery or Toxic Shock Syndrome. Parasites, like worms, or giardia can also cause sepsis. And parasites’ like those that cause Dengue fever can cause sepsis.