Could sepsis treatment be breaking hearts?

Severe infection affects between 20-30 million patients annually.

It’s the result of the body reacting to this severe infection that can cause massive damage to multiple major organs, and if not treated correctly, can result in high death rates.  Currently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends two treatments for severe infection: fluid resuscitation and blood transfusion.

However, an award-winning study revealed that these treatments can lead to heart failure and vascular collapse.

The shocking results of this African-based study were of particular concern to the Critical Care Research Group at The Prince Charles Hospital, and with funding from NHMRC and The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, they have their new investigator Dr Brooke Tang onto the case. By using special echocardiography (heart ultrasounds) and looking at animal models with severe infection, they hope to pinpoint the reasons why patients with severe infection don’t do too well with the current treatment guidelines.

The initial data already has the team feeling optimistic, and could lead to practice-changing guidelines worldwide.  

If the trends continue in the right direction, these research findings will help to change the global understanding of what really goes wrong with severe infection. From here, they can begin to encourage improving guidelines for managing this fatal condition and hopefully result in saving millions of lives.

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Heart Research

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