Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 13th, 2018.
What is Urosepsis?
Urosepsis is a secondary infection and a form of sepsis that initially develops in the urinary tract. It is a systemic inflammatory response of the body during the course of infection and where the infection of the urinary tract has reached the bloodstream and circulated in the body affecting the major organs.
Urosepsis is a severe illness that can be life-threatening when left untreated as the disease may progress to “septic shock”. It is a disease more common in people with weak immune system. Urosepsis is also more common among elderly people and affects women more than men. On the other hand, Urosepsis can affect people from all age levels regardless of gender and racial group. Urosepsis is among the serious complication of Pyelonephritis which is an inflammatory condition that involves the kidney. Urosepsis is a progression of Pyelonephritis after the infection has reached the bloodstream and circulated in the body and particularly has affected the kidney in this condition.
Urosepsis is not an initial condition but is mostly secondary to an infection specifically of urinary tract infection. The patient suffering from Urosepsis will initially manifest the common signs and symptoms of urinary tract infection such as:
- Frequent urination which consists only of a very small output of urine
- Burning sensation or pain during urination
- Onset of high fever
- Abdominal pain
- Cloudy and smelly characteristic of urine
A urinary tract infection has the potential to progress to Urosepsis particularly when it is left untreated. The progression to Urosepsis is the result of the infection penetrating the bloodstream and later circulating in the body which can then affect major organs such as the kidney.
Urosepsis can be life-threatening that it is important to recognize its signs and symptoms which are similar to the signs and symptoms of sepsis. The onset of signs and symptoms of Urosepsis should alert one to immediately seek medical attention.
Signs and symptoms of Urosepsis in the early phase or the sepsis phase include the following:
- Onset of high fever which is more than 101 degrees F
- A rapid heart rate of about 90 or more beats per minute
- An increased respiratory rate of about 20 or more breaths per minute
- Hypothermia or a decreased body temperature of about 95 degrees F or lower
- Chills that are commonly experienced in the hands and feet
Urosepsis that has progressed to a severe sepsis phase have signs and symptoms that include the following:
- Change in mental status or in the level of consciousness where the patient could either be unresponsive or is passing out
- Absence or a rapid decrease in urine output
- Severe abdominal pain or lower back pain
- A sudden drop in the platelet count
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
Urosepsis can further progress to septic shock where the signs and symptoms are similar to symptoms of severe sepsis. The dramatic drop in the blood pressure is the defining symptom or the confirmed diagnosis of an existing septic shock.
Urosepsis is secondary to urinary tract infection where the infection has remained undiagnosed and untreated. It is a progression of an infection from the urinary tract or prostate that has reached the bloodstream which will circulate in the body and later affect the major organs of the body.
Infection in the urinary tract that can progress to Urosepsis is caused by several factors such as:
- Insertion of indwelling catheters
- Infection from Chlamydia bacteria which is sexually transmitted and is therefore potential for those practicing unprotected sex
- Bacterial infection from Escherichia coli that is present in the intestinal tract
Risk factors are also considered in the development of Urosepsis and such include the following:
- A compromised immune system
- Female gender and elderly individual
- Individuals suffering from diabetes and benign prostate hyperplasia
- Pregnant women are more prone for developing urinary tract infection which has the potential to progress to Urosepsis
Diagnosis of Urosepsis is initially done through taking on the medical history of the patient. The incidence of urinary tract infection is significant in determining Urosepsis especially in patients exhibiting the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
A urinalysis is the general rule in identifying urinary tract infection which is the main source of Urosepsis. A urine sample with clear catch from midstream is usually obtained and sends forth to the laboratory for analysis and evaluation of bacteria contained that is causing the infection.
A blood test is necessary in determining infiltration of offensive bacteria in the blood and to determine as well the type of bacteria that has infected. The blood test is the baseline for determining the presence of infection and in identifying problems with blood clotting, insufficiency in oxygen supply and fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
Broad spectrum antibiotic is the standard and initial treatment for Urosepsis with antibiotic depending on the type of bacteria that caused the infection. The chance for survival among patients with Urosepsis is greatly enhanced through prompt and aggressive treatment.
Supportive measures are given to properly address the signs and symptoms such as the symptom of a rapid drop in blood pressure. Administration of intravenous fluid is necessary for correcting imbalances in fluid and electrolyte and to correct the low levels of blood pressure. Medications to relieve pain and reduce fever may also be given to address the symptoms.