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Neutropenia sepsis is also known as neutropenic sepsis. It is a condition caused by a hematological disorder called neutropenia. The disorder progresses into life-threatening sepsis when an infection occurs and prompt treatment is not obtained.
This blood disorder affects a specific type of white blood cell known as a neutrophil. These white blood cells are important because they are the body’s main defense against bacteria that enter the bloodstream. This condition causes a deficiency in the amount of neutrophils, which increases bacteria and leaves the patient vulnerable to developing infections.
Although there are different forms of neutropenia and sepsis can occur in any one of them, it is more common to be a result of chemotherapy treatment. In many cases, chemotherapy suppresses cell production in bone marrow. Neutropenia sepsis can become worse if it is not treated immediately.
The symptoms of this type sepsis vary depending on the severity of the infection and the body’s response. General symptoms include fever and slightly elevated heart respiration rates. Patients with severe sepsis may also suffer from dysfunctional or failing organs. Septic shock leads to dangerously low blood pressure that does not respond to treatment.
Diagnosing sepsis is achieved several ways. Doctors must look for visible symptoms, including fever, inflammation, cough, and skin lesions. Visible signs of infection in the mouth or sinuses can also be used in diagnostics.
Further testing is necessary to confirm a visual diagnosis. A standard type of testing is a full blood count (FBC), which is used to measure the amount of neutrophils in the blood. Liver function tests and a series of blood cultures help ensure proper organ function. Coagulation tests are performed to monitor red blood cells and clotting times.
Imaging tests may help determine sites of infection that are not visible or found by blood tests. Chest radiography images can show neutropenia sepsis in the lungs. A stool microscopy or colonoscopy can determine if an infection has occurred in the colon.
Neutropenia sepsis treatment includes antibiotics, and the one prescribed will vary depending on the source of the infection. While most infections start from a bacterial invasion, some patients may also have viral infections as well. In addition to antibiotics, anti-virals may also be used. Complications resulting from the sepsis, such as slow respiration, also require treatment. It is important to first treat underlying conditions that are responsible for causing the sepsis before treatment of the sepsis symptoms can begin.