Patients who die from sepsis are likely to have had suppressed immune systems that left them unable to fight infections, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown.
The findings suggest that therapies to rev up the immune response may help save the lives of some patients with the disorder. Sepsis is a severe illness in which bacteria overwhelm the bloodstream.
The researchers compared tissue samples taken from the lungs and spleens of 40 patients who had died of sepsis to those of patients who died from other causes. They reported their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“More than 225,000 people die each year from sepsis, and developing more effective therapies has been challenging,” says senior investigator Richard S. Hotchkiss, MD, professor of anesthesiology. “This project was focused on trying to understand the mechanisms that underlie how the immune system responds to sepsis.”
Richard S. Hotchkiss, M.D. is featured in an article at WUSTL Newsroom: Late-stage sepsis suppresses immune system