Most Americans Unfamiliar With Sepsis, Survey
THURSDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of Americans
don't know what the life-threatening immune response condition
known as sepsis (or septic shock) is, according to a new
The survey results touch upon a serious illness that strikes a
half million Americans each year and kills more than 200,000, but
remains something of an enigma to the general public.
"The lack of awareness and understanding is one of the major challenges we face in healthcare today," Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York, said in a news release from the health system. "One in four hospital deaths are caused by sepsis, yet the majority of Americans have never even heard of the condition. Sepsis is a mystery to most Americans."
The survey was conducted for the Feinstein Institute.
The survey findings concern an illness that is basically the
result of an immune system going into overdrive in reaction to a
bacterial infection, sometimes leading to organ failure.
Among the survey's other findings:
- despite being particularly vulnerable, nearly 70 percent of
adults 65 and older do not know what sepsis is;
- the condition is least familiar to residents of the southern
- more men than women (63 percent versus 55 percent) are
unfamiliar with sepsis, even though men have a higher mortality
rate when affected;
- blacks are less familiar with the condition than whites and
Hispanics (67 percent versus 58 percent), despite a higher
incidence among blacks.
The survey of 1,000 adults also found that college graduates
have a greater understanding of sepsis than those who have no more
than a high school education (50 percent versus 24 percent).
For more on sepsis, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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