Posted September 13, 2012
by Todd O'Keefe
Infectious disease experts indicate that sepsis, a serious medical condition usually caused by infectious organisms such as bacteria, funguses and viruses, is one of the leading causes of death globally. Sepsis claims more lives per year than prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. The overall direct and indirect burden of sepsis on the health care system and society are generally underappreciated. Each episode of sepsis costs the health care system hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial; and global awareness of the deadly ramifications of this disease is needed.
Events such as the inaugural International World Sepsis Day, which will take place September 13, are key to encouraging sepsis awareness in the general population and amongst health care workers.
For the first international sepsis day, the Alberta Sepsis Network (ASN) is hosting a series of events for the University of Calgary community.
ASN has invited researchers from across Alberta to a poster competition in the Faculty of Medicine atrium, and is hosting a charity barbecue at the Alberta Children’s hospital.
The ASN is a provincial research team funded by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions and composed of 25 clinicians and basic science researchers from the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, and the University of Lethbridge.
One project the team is working on is a registry of patients admitted to the Edmonton and Calgary adult and pediatric intensive care units. The team now has more than 700 patients enrolled, and, by collecting clinical data and serial laboratory specimens for bio-bank samples, is now aiming at long-term neurological follow-up with survivors.
The University of Calgary’s Snyder Institute member, Dr. Chip Doig, head of the department Community Health Services, as well as co-team leader for ASN, states that the patient registry will help to change the lives of sepsis sufferers.
“By identifying a large cohort of sepsis patients, we can examine risk factors or treatment interventions that have worsened or improved outcomes,” he explains. “Linking clinical data with biological data helps the ASN understand the complex interplay of the invading organism, the host response, and the outcome of survival or death.”