A 46-year-old member asked:
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does sepsis usually cause oxygen saturation levels to fall?

3 doctor answers
Dr. Carlo Hatem
24 years experience Pulmonary Critical Care
It can: Sepsis can cause acute inflammation and swelling in the lungs making it harder to breathe, and causing oxygen levels to drop. Compromised heart and kidney function, as well as fluid resucitation can make matters worse.
Answered on Aug 21, 2019
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Dr. William Walsh
16 years experience Addiction Medicine
It can also directly cause oxygen levels to drop if there is pulmonary capillary edema - which can be caused directly by sepsis even without resuscitation. It can also lead to tissue hypoxemia by causing capillary leak and probably by causing the mitochondria (the part of the cell that turns oxygen and sugar into energy) to function poorly.
Dec 25, 2011
Dr. Seth Akst
Dr. Seth Akst answered
20 years experience Anesthesiology
Yes: Sepsis is the body's generalized inflammatory response to a specific infection. Even if the actual infection is not in a patient's lungs, many patients will experience lung injury due to the inflammatory response. The blood vessels also become "leaky" during sepsis, so edema can build in the lungs and further impair oxygenation. For severe sepsis, a breathing machine is not uncommon for a time.
Answered on Oct 7, 2020
Dr. Dennis Clifford
A Verified Doctor answered
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Almost always: Consumption of oxygen increases greatly during sepsis and the ability of the lung to exchange oxygen frequently falls. The immune system requires excessive amounts of energy which is supplied by oxygen in part, and the lungs often can't meet the demand. Also sometimes the lungs themselves are the source of sepsis such as in pneumonia which further impairs their ability to supply oxygen.
Answered on Oct 7, 2020

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