Septic Shock is a medical condition, where blood pressure falls to life-threatening levels, caused by sepsis. Septic shock happens most frequently in individuals over the age of 50, with impaired immune systems, and in newborns.
Septic Shock may be life-threatening in people with low white blood cell counts (for example, in people with cirrhosis or diabetes, cancer, or those using anticancer medications). Septic Shock is resulted from toxins made by specific bacteria and by cytokines, the substances produced by the immune system to fight the infection.
Blood vessels become wider, resulting in the blood pressure to fall. The blood vessel also can become leacky, letting fluids escape from the blood to the tissue and result in swelling. Blood flow to the internal organs, especially the brain and kidneys decreases. Later, the blood vessel constricts in an attempt to increase blood pressure, but output of blood from heart decreases, so that blood pressure remains at very low levels.
The first symptoms of septic shock are confusion and decreased mental alertness. Such symptoms are resulted from decreased brain blood flow. The heart’s output of blood increases, but the blood vessel become wider, thus decreasing the blood pressure. Frequently, an individual breathes very fast, so that the lung blows off carbon dioxide excess and the carbon dioxide blood level decreases. The symptoms can include falling and rise of blood pressure, bounding pulse, flushed skin, rapid temperature rise, and shaking chills.
At a later point, the person’s body temperature frequently falls below normal levels. As septic shock worsens, few organs can fail, such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Additionally, blood clots can form inside blood vessel. A blood test may reveal low or high level of white blood cells, and the platelet’s count can decrease. Metabolic waste product levels are measured in the blood and they rise if the kidney fails. An ECG (electrocardiogram) can reveal heart rhythm irregularities, showing improper blood supply to the muscle of heart. Blood culture is obtained to find the infecting bacteria. Once the septic shock is suspected, an individual is admitted to intensive care department for the treatment. Large fluid amounts are administered intravenously to increase blood pressure, which must be monitored frequently.
Drugs such as Norepinephrine or Dopamine can be given to constrict blood vessels, so that blood pressure is increased and blood flow to the heart is also increased. If the failure of the lungs progresses, the patient may require a mechanical ventilator. Large intravenous antibiotic doses are administered as quickly, as blood specimen has been obtained for laboratory culture. Usually, 2 antibiotics are given together to attempt to kill the bacteria. Any abscess is drained and any catheter that had started the septic shock is removed. Surgery may be operformed to remove any dead tissues, including intestine’s dangerous tissue. For more than 1/4 of all cases, an infection is fatal.