17 Aug 2022

Sepsis (Blood Infection)

– The information has been reviewed by Dr. Ko Hiu Fai

Sepsis occurs when infections by bacteria or viruses trigger an overreaction of the immune system to start damaging multiple organs in the body. It could lead to organ dysfunction, including pulmonary edema, liver and kidney dysfunctions, or coagulation disorders. With a death rate as high as 40% (at 10% even for mild cases), patients must be promptly treated in the hospital.

The most common causes of sepsis include staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus pneumoniae, vibrio cholerae, as well as the recent coronavirus (COVID-19). These bacteria/ viruses mainly infect the respiratory system and lead to pneumonia, or enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder or kidney. Other triggers include infections relating to gallstone or appendicitis, etc.


High Risk Groups

  • Older adults (aged 65 or above), or infants (under 1 year of age).
  • Immunocompromised individuals.
  • Patients with chronic diseases, like diabetes, lung diseases, cancer or kidney disease.
  • Hospitalised patients.
  • Sepsis survivors, since the risk of infection is higher after recovery.


Symptoms of Sepsis

Fever, heart beats rapidly (over 100 beats per minute), shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure, skin rashes, shock.


The Golden Hours of Sepsis

The international guidelines recommend that patients must be treated within 3 hours of arriving at Urgent Care Clinic. The doctor will:

  • Prescribe oxygenation, fluid or blood transfusion, injection of insulin or cardiotonic drugs, to stablise the patient’s vital signs (body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate).
  • Identify source of infection through blood, urine or sputum test, and prescribe suitable antibiotics. If necessary, medication can be administered by intravenous injection.
  • Patients with appendicitis, cholecystitis or cholangitis should undergo a surgery to remove infected organs and tissues.
  • In case of kidney infection, hemodialysis (also known as dialysis) is needed to remove waste from blood.


If you're experiencing symptoms of sepsis, visit our URGENT CARE CLINIC (open 24 hours) for treatment.

For any inquiries, please call 36518991.