Hematology and Oncology
Septicemia is a bloodstream Infection. It is also known as blood poisoning. Septicemia occurs when a bacterial infection elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs or skin, enters the bloodstream. This is dangerous because the bacteria and toxins can be carried through the bloodstream to your entire body. Septicemia can quickly become life-threatening. It must be treated in a hospital. If left untreated, septicemia can progress to sepsis.
Septicemia and sepsis aren’t the same. Sepsis is a severe complication of septicemia. Sepsis causes inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can cause blood clots and block oxygen from reaching vital organs, resulting in organ failure. When the inflammation occurs with external blood pressure, it is called septic shock.
Primary Septicaemia: is caused by an infection in another part of your body. This infection is typically severe. Many types of bacteria can lead to septicemia. The exact source of the disease often cannot be determined.
Secondary Septicemia: The most common infections that lead to septicemia are:
These infections enter the bloodstream and multiply rapidly, causing immediate symptoms.
People already in the hospital for something else, such as surgery, are at a higher risk of developing septicemia. Secondary infections can occur while in the hospital. These infections are often more dangerous because the bacteria may already be resistant to antibiotics. You may have a high risk of developing septicemia in hospital if you:
The symptoms of septicemia start very quickly. Even in the first stages, a person can look very sick. They may follow an injury, surgery, or another localized infection, such as pneumonia. The most common initial symptoms are:
Severe symptoms may begin to emerge as septicemia progresses without proper treatment. These include the following:
Your healthcare provider may require certain specific radiology tests to look more closely at specific organs and tissue, such as:
Septicemia that has started to affect your organs or tissue function is a medical emergency. Treatment will depend on several factors, including:
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections causing septicemia. Initial treatment will usually use “broad-spectrum” antibiotics.
· Empirical initial treatment after blood cultures, e.g., flucloxacillin 2g IV with gentamicin 4-6mg\kg IV
· A focused antibiotic may be used if the specific bacteria is identified by blood culture.
· I\V fluids and other medications intravenously to maintain blood pressure. Anticoagulants to prevent blood clots from forming.
· Oxygen inhalation if any breathing issues.
Septicaemia has several serious complications. These complications may be fatal if left untreated or if treatment is delayed for too long.
On early diagnosis, septicemia can be treated effectively with antibiotics. Even with treatment, it is possible to have permanent organ damage for people with preexisting conditions that affect their immune systems.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on nOV 09th, 2023.