First large-scale study shows that most older patients hospitalized with severe sepsis face years of cognitive, physical decline, according to U-M research
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Older adults who survive severe sepsis are at higher risk for long-term cognitive impairment and physical limitations than those hospitalized for other reasons, according to researchers from the University of Michigan Health System.
Research to be published Oct. 27 today in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 60 percent of hospitalizations for severe sepsis were associated with worsened cognitive and physical function among surviving older adults. The odds of acquiring moderate to severe cognitive impairment were 3.3 times higher following an episode of sepsis than for other hospitalizations.
Severe sepsis also was associated with greater risk for the development of new functional limitations following hospitalization, says lead author, Theodore (Jack) Iwashyna, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at U-M.
Among patients who had no limitations before sepsis, more than 40% developed trouble with walking. Nearly 1 in 5 developed new problems with shopping or preparing a meal. Patients often developed new problems with such basic things as bathing and toileting themselves.
“We used to think of sepsis as just a medical emergency, an infection that you get sick with and then recover,” said Iwashyna, “But we discovered a significant number of people face years of problems afterwards.
“Those problems are bigger and more common than we expected. Most older Americans suffer real brain and body problems. We need new treatments, not just for the sepsis infection, but to prevent these new disabilities afterwards.”
Sepsis is an overwhelming infection that can result in failure of multiple organ systems. The initial infections are often common problems, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection. About 40 percent of those with severe sepsis die from the infection.
Read the whole article here at PR Newswire.