Sepsis patients aren't out of the woods even getting through their life-threatening illness as research shows that the following years remain risky for survivors.
If their illness was critical, sepsis survivors face a higher risk of dying even at least six years after recovering from their disease in the hospital.
Long-Term Study Of Sepsis Survivors
In the new research published in the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers from England analyzed data from 94,748 adult sepsis patients who were admitted in critical care units in England from April 2009 to March 2014.
All of the study subjects survived to get discharged from the hospital, but 15 percent of them died within the following year. Then, an additional 6 to 8 percent died every year over the next five years.
Other factors were found to heighten the risk of dying among sepsis survivors, including being male, older, and possessing a number of health issues.
"We now know the magnitude of this long-term risk of death in sepsis survivors," said lead study author Dr. Manu Shankar-Hari of Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London. "Given what we now know, we will be trying to find out what the best interventions are to prevent these deaths, how to identify those sepsis survivors who are at greatest risk and more likely to benefit the most from such interventions."
He added that their findings will help inform health policy discussions on planning follow-up care of sepsis and critical illness survivors.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ron Daniels of the UK Sepsis Trust assured that the new research shouldn't cause sepsis survivors alarm. After all, he pointed out, the team focused on patients in the intensive care units and these patients are already at a higher risk of death.
"However, this kind of research is important as it highlights the need for better resources to inform survivors about the potential risks following sepsis, and better follow-up services for those people," Daniels added.
More About Sepsis
Sepsis is the life-threatening organ dysfunction that's a response to an infection.
Since any infection can lead to sepsis, anyone can get the disease. However, there are certain people who are at a higher risk such as those who are adults older than 65 or children younger than 1. Those who are suffering from a chronic medical condition or weak immune systems are also particularly at risk of sepsis.
According to the CDC, about 1.7 million adults in the United States develop sepsis every year with nearly 270,000 dying of the illness. One out of every three patients who die in a hospital have sepsis.