Bloodstream Infections

Bloodstream Infections

A bloodstream infection is the entry of bacteria or fungi into the bloodstream . This condition can cause symptoms such as fever, chills, fainting, and low blood pressure . If not treated, the bloodstream infection can spread throughout the body (sepsis) .

Bloodstream infections are divided into primary and secondary bloodstream infections. Primary bloodstream infection occurs without any other source of infection except in the blood. While secondary blood infections are infections in other parts of the body that enter the bloodstream.

Causes of Blood Stream Infections

Blood stream infections are most often caused by bacteria ( bacteremia ). Some types of bacteria that can cause bloodstream infections are Staphylococcus aureus , Escherichia coli , Klebsiella pneumoniae , Pseudomonas aeruginosa , and Enterococcus faecalis .

In addition, fungal infections from the Candida group can also cause bloodstream infections. This condition is called candidemia.

Based on the source, bloodstream infections are divided into two types, namely:

Primary bloodstream infection

Primary bloodstream infections are defined as infections that occur directly in the bloodstream. Primary bloodstream infection must be ensured by the presence of germs in the bloodstream without infection in other organs or tissues of the body.

Generally, primary bloodstream infections are related to the installation of central venous catheters or infusions . For this reason, this condition is often referred to as catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI) or central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABS).

Secondary bloodstream infection

Secondary bloodstream infections are infections in other organs that spread to the bloodstream. Some infectious diseases that often trigger secondary bloodstream infections are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Peritonitis
  • Meningitis
  • Endocarditis

In addition, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of getting a secondary bloodstream infection, namely:

  • Have a weak immune system
  • Not getting the right treatment for the infection he experienced
  • Very young or over 65 years old

Symptoms of Blood Stream Infection

The symptoms of bloodstream infections are generally similar to the symptoms of infectious diseases in general, including:

  • Fever and chills
  • Fast breathing
  • Heart pounding
  • Sweaty body
  • Tired and weak
  • Pale skin

When should you go to the doctor?

Check with a doctor if you experience the above symptoms. You also need to see a doctor immediately if the symptoms worsen, because it can cause serious complications.

If you have been diagnosed with an infectious disease, check with your doctor regularly to prevent the spread of infection.

Diagnosis of Blood Stream Infections

The doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and health history. Next, the doctor will perform a physical examination, including checking vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and pulse.

Blood stream infection will be confirmed through laboratory examination . This test is done to check the presence of bacteria or microorganisms in the bloodstream. Some types of laboratory tests that will be performed are:

  • Blood culture , to assess the type of microorganisms that are the cause of bloodstream infections
  • Blood test , to check if there is an infection in the blood

If the patient is suspected of being affected by a secondary bloodstream infection, the doctor will perform several other tests, such as a urine test , X-ray, USG, CT scan, or MRI.

Treatment of Blood Stream Infections

Treatment of bloodstream infections aims to relieve symptoms while preventing complications. The type and duration of treatment will be adjusted to the cause and severity of the infection.

During treatment, the patient is advised to undergo hospitalization in the hospital so that the doctor can monitor the patient's vital signs.

To overcome the bloodstream infection, the doctor will prescribe the following drugs:

  • Injectable antibiotics , to overcome the bacteria that cause infection
  • Antifungal drugs, such as voriconazole or fluconazole, if the bloodstream infection is caused by candida
  • Medicines to relieve fever and pain, such as paracetamol
  • Vasoactive drugs, to increase blood pressure

If the bloodstream infection is caused by the use of an IV or a blood vessel catheter, the doctor can replace or adjust the use of the catheter.

Complications of Blood Stream Infections

Blood stream infections can cause infections in other parts and organs of the body. If the infection spreads throughout the body ( sepsis ) and causes disruption of blood flow, the sufferer can experience septic shock.

Septic shock is an emergency condition that can cause death if not treated immediately. This condition also causes damage to many organs ( multiple organ failure ), such as kidneys, brain, and heart.

In addition, sufferers can experience acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) if the bloodstream infection causes sepsis and damages the respiratory system.

Prevention of Blood Stream Infections

To prevent bloodstream infections, there are several efforts that can be made, namely:

  • Maintain cleanliness and routine hand washing with soap and running water.
  • Wash your hands with hand sanitizer if water is not available.
  • Check with a doctor if you experience symptoms of an infectious disease.
  • Follow the recommendations and therapy given by the doctor until the infectious disease is declared cured.
  • Do not use syringes or injections carelessly.
  • Do mandatory vaccinations according to the schedule.
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