13 September is World Sepsis Day, a real global emergency, as defined by the World Health Organization in 2017.

But what is sepsis and how does it manifest? We discuss it with Professor Maurizio Cecconi, Director of the Anesthesia and Intensive Care Department at Humanitas.


Sepsis and its symptoms

“Sepsis is an unregulated and disproportionate response of our organism to an infection. It can happen to take on the course of flu, a cold or pneumonia: these are not in themselves sepsis, but if the response of our body becomes excessive, it can establish a condition of sepsis.

Sepsis manifests with high fever and other symptoms such as wheezing and mental confusion: these signs indicate that the infection is becoming important and in their presence it is necessary to go promptly to the emergency room. Early recognition of the signs and symptoms of sepsis is essential to ensure that it can be treated appropriately, reducing the mortality associated with it,” stresses Prof. Cecconi.


Procedures to reduce sepsis-related mortality

In the emergency room, once the presence of sepsis has been ascertained, a number of procedures will be put in place, the scientific evidence for which is very high.

The European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, of which Prof. Cecconi was recently elected president, and the American Society of Critical Medicine have developed the “Surviving Sepsis Campaign”: a set of recommendations applicable in all hospitals to reduce sepsis-related mortality. Examples of this are the administration of an early antibiotic therapy or the execution of blood cultures to understand the bacterium responsible for the infection.