What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an infection. In sepsis, the body’s immune system goes into overdrive, setting off a series of reactions including widespread inflammation, swelling and blood clotting. This can lead to a significant decrease in blood pressure, which can mean the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys is reduced.

If not treated quickly, sepsis can eventually lead to multiple organ failure and death.

Each year in the UK, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis and around 37,000 people will die as a result of the condition.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can develop sepsis after an injury or minor infection, although some people are more vulnerable. People most at risk of sepsis include those:

    • with a medical condition or receiving medical treatment that weakens their immune system
    • who are already in hospital with a serious illness
    • who are very young (under 1yr old) or older people (over 75yrs old)
    • who have just had surgery or who have wounds or injuries as a result of an accident
    • Women who are pregnant, had recent loss of pregnancy through termination or miscarriage, or given birth within the last 6 weeks

Signs and symptoms of sepsis