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Blood poisoning will increase significantly in the future
Blood poisoning is increasing significantly across Germany. The German Sepsis Society sees this as one of the major medical problems of the future, because in an increasingly older society this trend is likely to intensify significantly in the coming years.
The number of blood poisonings will increase significantly in the future, according to the warning of the German Sepsis Society (DSG) at the start of the fifth international sepsis congress in Weimar. Up to 150,000 blood poisonings are already registered annually throughout Germany, with a large proportion of the illnesses occurring during a hospital stay, the DSG experts explained. According to the chairman of the German Sepsis Society, Tobias Welte, the massive increase in blood poisoning is particularly worrying, since the mortality rate for sepsis patients is 30 to 50 percent.
Causes of an increased incidence of blood poisoning According to the DSG chair, blood poisoning could become one of the greatest medical problems in the course of demographic change in the future, because "people are not getting older in a healthy way". According to Tobias Welte, for example, older people are increasingly suffering from chronic diseases that significantly increase the risk of sepsis. In addition, the widespread use of plastic materials such as catheters and breathing tubes has increased the risk of infection and thus increased blood poisoning, explained Welte. More and more elderly people, who are already more susceptible, are being operated on, which increases the number of blood poisoning, according to the expert. Last but not least, seriously injured people can be kept alive much longer than a few years ago and are generally also at a significantly higher risk of infection and sepsis, the DSG experts explained their conclusion of a massive increase in blood poisoning. In addition, the occurrence of blood poisoning is favored by the continuously falling number of nurses, added the DSG General Secretary, Frank Brunkhorst.
Blood poisoning as a result of bacterial infections According to the German Sepsis Society, blood poisoning usually occurs as a result of bacterial infections, whereby the bacteria can colonize even the smallest of wounds and multiply relatively quickly if the immune system is inadequate. Inflammation of the wound is the immediate result. If medical treatment is not initiated, the bacteria and their toxins (toxins) can spread through the bloodstream and thus also affect other organs. This spread in the organism severely affects the oxygen supply to the organs and there is a risk of multi-organ failure, in which vital functions of organs such as the kidneys, lungs or liver can no longer be maintained. If no medical treatment is given, those affected may be killed within a few hours.
Therefore, according to the DSG, quick action is crucial for successful sepsis therapy. Early diagnosis and prompt sepsis therapy can significantly improve the chances of survival for those affected, emphasized the chairman of the Global Sepsis Alliance and director of the Jena Clinic for Intensive Care Medicine, Konrad Reinhart. According to the expert, the mortality rate of sepsis patients increases by seven percent with every hour of delay. The survival prospects in the first hour after the onset of sepsis symptoms are around 80 percent, but a day later only 10 percent, said Reinhart. The development of better diagnostic methods is therefore all the more important, emphasized the chairman of the Global Sepsis Alliance.
Shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and fever as signs of blood poisoning Overall, the clinical picture of blood poisoning is extremely unspecific, which makes the diagnosis significantly more difficult, explained the DSG chairman, Tobias Welte. Sepsis can be clearly demonstrated with the help of a blood test, but if this is ordered, the disease is often well advanced. In advance, according to the DSG, those affected often show flu-like symptoms and fever. Accelerated breathing, increased heart rate, and low blood pressure can also be signs of sepsis. "If you also suffer from changes in consciousness such as hallucinations or confusion, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), you probably have blood poisoning," explained Konrad Reinhart. In such cases, a doctor should be consulted immediately and a referral to the intensive care unit initiated if the suspicion is confirmed, the experts warn. However, the red line, popularly known as a clear symptom of blood poisoning, which migrates from the wound towards the heart, is not always a reliable sign. Because the red line "only indicates that inflammation is spreading in the lymph channels," explained the DSG general secretary Brunkhorst.
Blood poisoning from hospitalization? The DSG is particularly critical of the number of blood poisonings that occur during a hospital stay. In both the intensive care and normal wards, patients are at significantly higher risk of blood poisoning, the DSG general secretary emphasized. Around two thirds of all blood poisonings are due to hospital treatment, Brunkhorst continues. Around 20 percent of the blood poisoning in the clinics is “potentially avoidable”, the expert explained. According to the DSG general secretary, in addition to compliance with the hygiene regulations - in particular hand disinfection - improved staff training could also significantly reduce blood poisoning in the long term. According to the DSG General Secretary, the current shortage of nursing staff is contributing to the fact that the number of cases is expected to continue to rise. The chairman of the German Sepsis Society added that if no countermeasures were taken, blood poisoning could develop into one of the “mega problems of the future” in the course of aging society. (fp)
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