University of Calgary

Education panel answers question: ‘What the heck is sepsis?’

UToday HomeSeptember 4, 2013

Each year 30,000 Canadians are hospitalized because of sepsis. More than 30 per cent of these patients will die.

Despite these statistics, sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection, is a disease most people have never heard of.  Sept. 13 marks the second annual World Sepsis Day and the University of Calgary’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases is partnering with TELUS Spark to host a free educational panel for the general public.

Sepsis occurs when the immune system reacts to a serious infection and triggers inflammation throughout the body. Luckily it can be treated if caught early but most people don’t know the signs and symptoms. These include: fatigue, high heart rate, rapid breathing, and probable or confirmed infection.

Sepsis often affects people who are already hospitalized and have weakened immune systems, making them more prone to developing infections. People with weakened immune systems, diabetics, babies and the elderly are most likely to get the disease but nobody is immune.

Research underway at University of Calgary

Researchers at the University of Calgary are hard at work trying to understand the mechanisms of sepsis, identifying the best drugs to treat it and understanding the long-term effects on patients after they are released from hospital. The researchers are part of the Alberta Sepsis Network, composed of 25 researchers, including immune experts, microbiologists, biochemists, infectious disease physicians, and intensive care physicians, from the universities of Alberta and  Lethbridge as well as Calgary.

Public lecture for world sepsis day

Join frontline ICU doctors and researchers to learn more about the disease at the free event on Friday, Sept. 13, at TELUS Spark, 220 St. George's Drive N.E. Starting at 6:30 p.m., guests will arrive and enter “the Dome.” From 7-8:30 p.m., the presentation will take place,“What the heck is sepsis? Why you should care.” A question and answer session and reception will follow in the Feature Gallery North. Panelists will include:

  • Dr. Graham Thomson, Paediatrics Emergency Medicine,  Alberta Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Chip Doig, professor of Critical Care Medicine; head, Department of Community Health Sciences, ICU, Foothills Medical Centre
  • Dr. Bryan Yipp, Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Clinical Scholar, University of Calgary
  • Rachel Sutherland, sepsis survivor

The Alberta Sepsis Network is funded by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. Watch the video to learn more about the disease.

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