The extent of these complications depends on the severity of sepsis as well as the length of stay in the intensive care unit and in the hospital. These complications often persist for years after the actual sepsis attack. The lack of specific, standardized rehabilitation programs for sepsis patients slows down or hinders full recovery.
These medical conditions often have far-reaching effects on the survivor's life and lifestyle.
Post-sepsis symptoms affect both the mind and the body. The psychological impact of sepsis is often described as post-traumatic stress.
The long-term physical effects include functional impairment of the muscles as a result of atrophy and nerve damage (critical illness polyneuropathy und critical illness myopathy), loss of body substance (cachexia,atrophy), problems swallowing or speaking, or general weakness and low physical resilience.
Over 76% of sepsis survivors experience the following physical problems:
More research on the long-term effects of sepsis is needed to understand the needs of sepsis survivors and develop long-term treatment concepts. That's why we're dedicated to supporting research in this field; more research funding is urgently needed.
The World Sepsis Day aims to improve medical knowledge of the long-term effects of sepsis. Dealing with the long-term impact of sepsis must become an integral part of learning curricula for healthcare workers, so that sepsis survivors and their loved ones can receive the support they need.
If you or someone you know is affected by sepsis, click here to find a local organization in your country. All organizations listed will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
9_ Kessler RC, Sonnega A, Bromet E, et al.: Posttraumatic stress disorder in the National
Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 52: 1048–60, 1995. // Davydow DS, Gifford JM,
Desai SV, et al.: Posttraumatic stress disorder in general intensive care unit survivors: a systematic
review. Gen Hosp Psychiatry, 30: 421-434, 2008.
10_ Iwashyna TJ, Ely EW, Smith DM, et al.: Long-term cognitive impairment and functional
disability among survivors of severe sepsis. JAMA, 304: 1787-1794, 2010.
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