Tuesday, July 6, 1999
Sepsis is a disease that has sunk many a therapeutic ship, primarily because it is a multifactorial indication in a heterogeneous population that results in numerous complications.
Between 25 and 50 percent of patients with sepsis who die have other fatal illnesses or injuries, such that only 50 percent of deaths attributed to sepsis are caused exclusively by sepsis. Nevertheless, a review in The New England Journal of Medicine noted in January that mortality rates due to severe sepsis are declining, perhaps due to improvements in organ system support and prevention of complications rather than any single therapeutic advance. In the U.S., 500,000 cases of sepsis are seen a year, with a 55-65 percent survival rate.