Trending Clinical Topic: Sepsis

Ryan Syrek


February 07, 2020

Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate about what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what's trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.

An update on monitoring technology, research on risk factors for secondary infection, and news about drugs used in the treatment of sepsis helped make the condition this week's top trending clinical topic.

At this year's Digital Health Conference and Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, one company described its progress in developing touchless patient monitoring for sepsis. Jaquie Finn, head of digital health at Cambridge Consultants, explained that her team is working on a way to monitor six measurements for early warning signs of sepsis: respiratory rate, level of consciousness, oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate. With infrared technology, sensors, several video cameras, and machine learning, their system currently covers four of the six parameters. The monitoring still faces challenges, including patient movement, skin tone, blood pressure, and facial recognition.

A recent retrospective observational study examined secondary infection in patients with sepsis. Researchers investigated the clinical characteristics, risk factors, immune status, and prognosis of secondary infection of sepsis across nearly 300 patients over 4 years. Underlying immunosuppression was identified as one risk factor, the respiratory tract was the most common site of secondary infection, and Acinetobacter baumannii was the most commonly isolated pathogen.

In regard to treatment, a new study of patients with septic shock in the ICU found no benefit associated with an intravenous cocktail consisting of vitamin C, hydrocortisone, and thiamine, relative to hydrocortisone alone. A study published in 2017 had reported dramatically improved mortality rates among patients with sepsis who received a vitamin C protocol. However, those findings were met with skepticism and uncertainty. Because vitamin C is a low-risk intervention, further research into its use in patients with sepsis is ongoing.

Although not limited to treatments for patients with sepsis, news about recent drug shortages has been met with "frustration and disbelief." The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed 163 different drugs as experiencing shortages, including heparin, epinephrine, morphine, and intravenous fluids such as normal saline. Given the critical need for these medications, the FDA has outlined potential solutions in its latest report.

From the technology of the future to news about treatment concerns at present, a wide variety of information helped make sepsis this week's top trending clinical topic.

Read more about sepsis.


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