In the Medical Labratory Observer, contributor Mark H. Oltermann, MD, writes that due to a variety of factors, the generation known as "the Baby Boom is about to become the Sepsis Boom."
"We're seeing an unmistakable increase [in sepsis rates] among all age groups, but particularly among the elderly. There are many factors contributing to this trend. Three of the most dynamic are the aging population, underlying conditions that lead to immunosuppression, and the increase in antibiotic resistance."
Coinciding with the increasing rates of sepsis among the elderly is the actual increasing number of elderly Americans relative to other age groups:
The bottom line is this: In 2030, nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be aged 65 and older, compared with about 1 in 8 in 2010. Of those elderly Americans, many more will be at risk for sepsis than would have been in previous generations.
However, not all hope is lost. Oltermann proposes 2 changes to be made that could stem the tide of sepsis cases in the coming years:
"The first [is] to require hospitals to make sepsis one of the core measures that would push for standardizing protocols and reporting of mortality rates. Until that happens, sepsis will be one of hundreds of problems competing for scarce resources and priority status. The second step toward improvement would be to adopt screening tests for sepsis such as lactate and procalcitonin as standard blood tests for all elderly patients who are admitted to the hospital. As noted earlier, this population is at increased risk, and they also may not always display the classic SIRS (systemic inflammatory response syndrome) criteria because of comorbid conditions and concomitant medications." Read more here.
Though not mentioned in the article, a third step to take would be to ensure that there are solid, reliable treatment options available to help treat sepsis once it is diagnosed. In this space, CytoSorbents Corporation (OTCBB: CTSO) is one company making remarkable gains. CytoSorbents Corporation is a critical-care focused therapeutic device company using blood purification to modulate the immune system and fight organ failure in life-threatening illnesses, including sepsis. CytoSorbents is developing novel and advanced blood purification therapies designed to actively prevent, mitigate, or reverse the development of organ failure and infection, thereby potentially reducing illness severity and helping patients to heal and recover faster. Ultimately the goal is to improve patient outcome and save healthcare costs.
CytoSorbents’ purification technology is covered by 29 issued patents and is based on biocompatible, highly porous polymer beads that can actively remove toxic substances from blood and other bodily fluids by pore capture and adsorption. The technology has been selected for funding by both the U.S. Army and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in a Phase I SBIR grant for trauma, and DARPA’s “Dialysis-like Therapeutics” program for the treatment of sepsis, respectively. The technology is also the basis of the Company’s two lead programs, CytoSorb™ and HemoDefend. Read more at cytosorbents.com.