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The death toll of sepsis in India

SepsisA recent study has revealed that 34 percent of sepsis patients in India die in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The new data builds on the foundation of previous studies published in 2017 that covered the five-year experience of the sepsis mortality rates for ICU, in-hospital, and post 28 days to be 56 percent, 63 percent, and 63 percent, respectively.

These figures are above the high estimate range of mortality rate for sepsis-related deaths elsewhere. MedicineNet gives the prognosis at diagnosis with no sign of organ failure at fifteen to thirty percent chance of mortality. Indian figures show a higher rate of death.

Higher estimates are allocated for patients with severe sepsis or septic shock, placing the mortality rate at forty to sixty percent, with the elderly having the highest mortality rates. Newborns and pediatric patients with sepsis were noted to have a nine to 36 percent mortality rate. With some Indian studies reporting a 63 percent mortality rate, it exceeds all of these figures.

The heightened death toll in India may result from a lack of preparedness for sepsis cases. The chance of death stemming from the disease is directly related to the speed of diagnosis and resultant treatment. If left too long the disease can cause several fatal complications.

“34 percent of sepsis patients in India die in the intensive care unit”

Sepsis itself is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated immune response to infection. Importantly, there is not one single bacteria or virus that causes sepsis – rather any type of pathogenic infection. This can make its treatment incredibly difficult, particularly in areas where healthcare infrastructure is not adequate enough to deal with the various complications. This has resulted in sepsis reaping a far higher death toll in low to middle-income countries.

Warning signs and symptoms vary considerably. Some include fever or low temperature and shivering, altered mental status, difficulty breathing/rapid breathing and increased heart rate. The symptoms are entirely dependent on the originating infection. This may be through a host of different causes such as a wound that has become infected or a bout of pneumonia.

Regardless of the original infection, sepsis is the result of a mismanaged immune response in which inflammation is spread to one of a number of organs. This results in a condition called septic shock, which can lead to organ failure. It is this that causes the high mortality rate.

“We get approximately 200 cases every month. Sepsis remains one of the highly prevalent and life-threatening infections but is rarely talked about,” says Arunima Patel, Founder, iGenetic Diagnostics. Greater awareness of the condition could reduce mortality rates in India through more rapid diagnosis rates. However, many rural locations will still be under-equipped to deal with the myriad of different symptoms resulting from the various infection sources.

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