A fever, chills down your spine, heart racing and nausea; these are all things you might feel if you have severe infection (or sepsis). In Australia, severe infection will hospitalise about 15,000 people, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends they are treated one of two ways; fluid resuscitation and/or blood transfusion. However, alarmingly, an award-winning study has revealed that these guidelines could actually lead to heart failure and vascular collapse.
Now, think about the 20 to 30 million patients worldwide that suffer from severe infection. That is 20 to 30 million people who go to a hospital or a doctor because they’re in pain: they’re dizzy, they have a fever, and they’re vomiting and possibly worse. They will then be treated according to these WHO guidelines, potentially leaving them in danger of cardiovascular collapse.
Through this study the Critical Care Research Group have taken on research to discover exactly when, where and what is leading to the break down in the capillary system and leading to heart failure. They’re doing this by using advanced ECHO scans to identify when the heart begins to fail after the administration of fluid resuscitation or blood transfusion.
The research group hope this study will lead to finding better ways treat patients with severe infection in order to avoid heart failure, potentially challenging the widely accepted WHO guidelines but ultimately saving more lives!
When a patient's heart and lungs begin to fail, they are often put on a treatment called extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO for short. These life-support systems are often the last chance to help critically ill patients recover by helping to pump blood and oxygen around the body. From infants to children and adults, these amazing machines have saved tens of thousands of lives worldwide.
Research has shown that the inability to talk can lead to depression, social withdrawal, lack of motivation to participate in self-care, and more. This is a common issue that occurs in intensive care units (or ICUs) all over the world - patients that require a tracheostomy (a procedure that involves inserting a tube through the windpipe to create an alternative airway for breathing) lose the ability to speak, as oxygen isn't make its way past their vocal chords.