What is Neutropenic Sepsis?
Neutropenic sepsis is the unnatural reduction in neutrophils (an infection-fighting cell) due to an infection, in most cases, a bacterial infection. This condition normally occurs as a complication associated with anticancer treatment and with disorders of the bone marrow. During chemotherapy, the neutrophil count begins to drop within 5 to 7 days. It is at this stage that nearly 70%-100% of individuals are susceptible to bacterial infection that leads to death. The frequency of mortality ranges between 2% and 21%.
What are the Causes of Neutropenic Sepsis?
Neutropenic sepsis occurs due to:
- Chemotherapy - Often observed in patients with solid tumors or in those with hematologic tumors
- Disorders of the bone marrow - Other factors that predispose individuals undergoing chemotherapy to neutropenic sepsis are:
- Prolonged hospital stay - Bacterial infection results from extended hospitalization, use of a catheter, chemotherapy, acute myeloid leukemia
- The type of cancer (eg leukemia and lymphoma affecting the bone marrow)
- Unique features of the affected individual
- Failure of different organs after the initial sepsis is resolved – Circulatory, renal, hepatic
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- Prevention and Management of Neutropenic Sepsis in Cancer Patients. - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK373673/)
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- Mapes D. Hutch news: After chemotherapy, immune system recovery may be slower than believed. Updated Jan 26, 2016. Accessed Mar 18, 2019. - (https://www.fredhutch.org/en/news/center-news/2016/01/chemotherapy-immune-system.html)