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April 26th, 2016

Sepsis occurs as a result of infections acquired in the community, hospitals and other health care facilities. Sepsis is defined as an extreme response to an infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the most recent available statistics, sepsis was the sixth most common principal reason for hospitalization in the U.S. with a reported 836,000 hospital stays in 2009. Sepsis ranked as the most costly hospitalization, totaling nearly $15.4 billion in aggregate hospital costs. In 2009, the in-hospital mortality rate for sepsis was about 16 percent—more than 8 times higher than other stays. This was unchanged from year 2000.

“The majority of cases are caused by common infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin infections and infections in the abdomen,” explained St. Catherine’s Director of Critical Care Services Dr. Aziz A. Mohammed. Sepsis can be life-threatening, especially if it moves to its later stages—severe sepsis or septic shock.

On March 4, 2016, the Intensive Critical Unit team at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center organized a Sepsis Symposium to update physicians, nurses and other allied health care workers on new developments, focused on diagnosing and managing sepsis. The educational event, attended by more than 200 participants, featured an international faculty and high-quality presentations on multiple aspects of sepsis.

Sepsis is more common than heart attacks, and claims more lives than any cancer, yet even in the most developed countries fewer than half of the adult population have heard of it. In developing countries, sepsis remains a leading cause of death. St. Catherine’s Internist Dr. Mohammed A. Aziz, presented at the symposium, and stated “Sepsis is a global health care problem—and it is vital to ensure health care facilities are educated on best practices.”

Photo (L-R): St. Catherine’s Director of Performance Improvement Laurie Yuditsky and St. Catherine’s Director of Critical Care Services Dr. Aziz A. Mohammed A. Aziz, MD, at the Sepsis Symposium held on March 4, 2016.