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Urosepsis; The Warning Signs

You may have heard of sepsis, but have you heard of urosepsis? to mark World Sepsis Day we are looking at what urosepsis is, what causes it and how it can be treated. Left untreated urosepsis can cause death so it is important that we also look at what the warning signs are.

What is Urosepsis?

Urosepsis is a form of sepsis that is caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are very common, so you shouldn’t worry or panic that you are going to get urosepsis if you are diagnosed with a UTI. The fact that your UTI is being managed and treated means that this is unlikely as urosepsis is usually the result of an untreated UTI that has travelled beyond the bladder and into the kidney.

What are the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Urosepsis?

Urosepsis signs and symptoms

As urosepsis derives from an untreated UTI, the signs and symptoms you need to look out for are that of a UTI; to ensure you can get the original infection treated to prevent urosepsis from occurring. Signs of a UTI include pain when urinating, frequent urges to urinate, abdominal pain, feverishness and cloudy/bloody urine. If you have any of these symptoms seek medical help from your GP as a UTI can be treated easily.

What Treatment is Available for Urosepsis?

If you are alert to the signs and symptoms of a UTI it should not escalate to urosepsis. If it does, there is treatment that can be effective if undertaken quickly before the infection takes hold. This can range from antibiotics, to intravenous fluids, oxygen or even surgery, depending on the severity

Is Urosepsis Fatal?

If left untreated, urosepsis can lead to septic shock which can be fatal.  Sepsis is a proven killer; responsible for 1 in 5 deaths globally. With 25% of all sepsis infections thought to be urosepsis(1), we can safely say that deaths will occur due to urosepsis. It is very important therefore to ensure UTIs are promptly diagnosed and treated.

Remember, Prevention is Better Than Cure.

The best prevention against urosepsis is to prevent a UTI from occurring in the first place. Minimise the risk of bacteria being introduced to the urethra, if you are female you should wipe front to back after using the toilet and try urinating after sex to flush out any bacteria that could have been introduced during intercourse. For both men and women it is important to stay hydrated and urinate frequently, don’t hold on if you have urge to go! The risk of a UTI is higher if you have an indwelling catheter due to the increased likelihood of bacteria being introduced during catheter insertion, it is important to use an aseptic technique when inserting the catheter to reduce the risk of a catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI).

For more information on sepsis, please visit the Sepsis Trust or NHS.

(1) Goveas, Blaizie MS, (2017) ‘Urosepsis: A simple infection turns toxic’, The Nurse Practioner, 42:7, pp53-54

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Urosepsis; The Warning Signs