Sepsis

Sepsis, the sneaky killer, is the focus of a new push for treatments

Photo of two people checking vitals of sepsis dummy in lab to train sepsis awareness
Sepsis survivor Pamela Popp checks out a sepsis medical training demonstration using dummies. Photo: John Leyba, The Denver Post via Getty Images

Combatting sepsis — the body-wide immune response to an infection that can lead to amputations, the loss of organs or death — continues to elude researchers, who are trying to develop a consistent and effective treatment.

Why it matters: Sepsis affects more than 30 million people worldwide every year, killing roughly 6 million. But, it's tricky to treat and quick to develop, leaving doctors with little option but to flood the body with multiple antibiotics and other therapies once the blood infection has developed.

Study: AI could improve doctors' treatment of sepsis

A new AI tool improved doctors' decisions in treating patients with sepsis.
An AI tool shows promise in improving treatment of sepsis. Photo: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence tool that improved doctors' treatment of patients who developed sepsis, a deadly blood infection that can quickly shut down vital organs if not treated swiftly and correctly, according to a new report published in Nature Medicine Monday.

Why it matters: Nearly 270,000 Americans die every year from sepsis, and "improving treatment even by a couple percentages [improvement] will save tens of thousands of lives each year," study author Anthony Gordon says.