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Complications of Infections

One of the most serious challenges we face as lymphedema patients is dealing with the many infections that seem to come our way.  Complications from these infections can ultimately result in amputation of the effected limb or even death.  Furthermore, every infection causes new scarring and damage to the lymph system, thereby making the lymphedema progressively worse.

It is imperative that we learn about, recognize and immediately treat (or prevent) these infections.  

We are susceptible to these infections because our bodies are immunocompromised as a result of the weakened lymphatics and the effect limbs are consider to be immunodeficient.

I urge everyone to be under the care of an infectious disease doctor.  These physicians are especially trained in the recognition, treatment and prevention of infections. Mine has literally kept me alive now for many years and I would hate to think about what would have happened had I not been under his care.

There are many complications that can arise from infections, even treated episodes. These complications can include sepsis, septicemia, bacteremia, and gangrene.  A brief description follows with links for further study.

Be well.

Pat O'Connor

April 25, 2008

-------- Short List of Possible Infections Complications----------

1.  Osteomyelitis (bone infection)

2. Meningitis (brain and spinal cord infection)

3. Lymphadenities (inflammation of the lymph vessels)

4. Sepsis (whole-body inflammatory state)

5. Abscesses (collection of pus in  the body)

6. Thrombophlebitis (vein inflammation related to a thrombosis)

7. Necrotizing Fasciitis (Infection that leads to the destruction of the musclature underlying skin)

8. Shock  (bodily collapse or near collapse)

9. Recurrence (return of cellulitis)

10.  Gangrene (tissue death)

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Sepsis

Sepsis is a life threatening infection wherein the bloodstream has been invaded by bacteria. As a result the bacteria spreads rapidly throughout the body. Untreated sepsis or late treated sepsis will result in septicemia and death.

Determination of sepsis and identification of the bacterium is done through blood cultures.

Commonly called a "bloodstream infection." The presence of bacteria (bacteremia) or other infectious organisms or their toxins in the blood (septicemia) or in other tissue of the body. Sepsis may be associated with clinical symptoms of systemic (bodywide) illness, such as fever, chills, malaise (generally feeling "rotten"), low blood pressure, and mental status changes. Sepsis can be a serious situation, a life threatening disease calling for urgent and comprehensive care.

Treatment depends on the type of infection, but usually begins with antibiotics or similar medications.

Also known as blood poisoning, septicemia.

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Sepsis

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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Sepsis

eMedicineHealth

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Sepsis

(Blood Infection) and Septic Shock

 http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/sepsis-septicemia-blood-infection

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Sepsis Resource Center

Medscape/WebMD

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What is Sepsis?

Sepsis can be defined as the body’s response to an infection. An infection is caused by microorganisms or "germs" (usually bacteria) invading the body, and can be limited to a particular body region (e.g., a tooth abscess) or can be widespread in the bloodstream (often called "septicemia" or "blood poisoning").

Surviving Sepsis 

Surviving Sepsis Campaign - European Society of Intensive Care Medicine

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Septicemia


Septicemia is simply defined as the presence of bacteria in the blood stream. see sepsis, blood poisoning, and bacteremia.

Medicine Net describes it as a systemic (bodywide) illness with toxicity due to invasion of the bloodstream by virulent bacteria coming from a local seat of infection. The symptoms of chills, fever and exhaustion are caused by the bacteria and substances they produce. The disorder is treated with massive doses of antibiotics. Also known as blood poisoning.

Fatality rates for septicemia are high -- around 20 percent.

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Septicemia

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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Septicemia

University of Maryland  Medical Center

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Septicemia

Wrong Diagnosis

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Septic shock

Septic shock is a form of physiological shock resulting from septicemia (bacteria in the blood). Fever, rapid heart beat, fast breathing and confusion may also occur. Septic shock generally follows the same sign of severe infection and blood culture are critical to the correct diagnosis and treatment. Untreated or incorrectly treated septic shock can result in death.

During an infection, certain types of bacteria can produce and release complex molecules, called endotoxins, that may provoke a dramatic response by the body's immune system. Released in the bloodstream, endotoxins are particularly dangerous, because they become widely dispersed and affect the blood vessels themselves. Arteries and the smaller arterioles open wider, increasing the total volume of the circulatory system. At the same time, the walls of the blood vessels become leaky, allowing fluid to seep out into the tissues, lowering the amount of fluid left in circulation. This combination of increased system volume and decreased fluid causes a dramatic decrease in blood pressure and reduces the blood flow to the organs. Other changes brought on by immune response may cause coagulation of the blood in the extremities, which can further decrease circulation through the organs.

Septic shock is seen most often in patients with suppressed immune systems, and is usually due to bacteria acquired during treatment at the hospital. The immune system is suppressed by drugs used to treat cancer, autoimmune disorders, organ transplants, and diseases of immune deficiency such as AIDS. Malnutrition, chronic drug abuse, and long-term illness increase the likelihood of succumbing to bacterial infection. Bacteremia is more likely with preexisting infections such as urinary or gastrointestinal tract infections, or skin ulcers. Bacteria may be introduced to the blood stream by surgical procedures, catheters, or intravenous equipment.

Toxic shock syndrome most often occurs in menstruating women using highly absorbent tampons. Left in place longer than other types, these tampons provide the breeding ground for Staphylococcus bacteria, which may then enter the bloodstream through small tears in the vaginal lining. The incidence of toxic shock syndrome has declined markedly since this type of tampon was withdrawn from the market.

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Septic Shock

Last Updated: July 21, 2003

Author: Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC, FCCP, DABSM, Program Director, Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Manitoba; Site Coordinator of Respiratory Medicine, St Boniface General Hospital

Synonyms and related keywords: sepsis, distributive shock, severe sepsis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS
         

emedicine

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Shock, Septic

Synonyms and related keywords: bacteremia, sepsis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome

Author: J Stephan Stapczynski, MD, Chair, Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center

eMedicine - Second Article

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Septic shock

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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Septic shock

Merck

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Septic shock

Optimal management of septic shock

Stephen J. Fitch, MD; James R. Gossage, MD

VOL 111 / NO 3 / MARCH 2002 

Post Graduate Medical

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Treating Septic shock

Patrick Neligan

Critical Care Medicine

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Bacteremia

Simply defined as the presence of bacteria in the blood. Bacteremia is diagnosed by rowing organism from a blood sample and is treated with antibiotics. See also septicemia


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Bacteremia

Bacteremia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream. It can occur spontaneously, from indwelling GU or IV catheters, or after dental, GI, GU, wound care, or other procedures. Bacteremia may cause metastatic infections, including endocarditis, especially in those with valvular heart abnormalities. Transient bacteremia is often asymptomatic but may cause fever. Development of other symptoms usually suggests more serious infection, such as sepsis or septic shock (see Sepsis and Septic Shock). Patients with certain underlying heart conditions should receive prophylactic antibiotics before procedures that can cause significant bacteremia.

Bacteremia may be transient and cause no sequelae, or it may cause metastatic or systemic consequences.

Merck

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Bacteremia

Last Updated: January 24, 2003

Synonyms and related keywords: bacteriemia, fever, fever without a source, FWS, occult bacteremia, bloodstream infection, serious bacterial infection, SBI

Author: Brian J Holland, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Pediatrics, Tripler Army Medical Center

eMedicine

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Quality Standard for the Treatment of Bacteremia

PubMed


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Gangrene

Gangrene is a serious possible complication from infections that can result in either loss of limb or life. It is the necrosis or death of tissue as a result of loss of blood supply or bacterial invasion.

While gangrene most often involves the limbs, it can occur anywhere that an extensive infection has taken place.

It can have a foul or offensive odor, spread rapidly, and may result in death in a few days. In all types of gangrene, surgery is required to remove the dead tissue.

From Medicine Net:

The death of body tissue due to the loss of blood supply to that tissue, sometimes permitting bacteria to invade it and accelerate its decay.

The word "gangrene" comes from the Greek "ganggraina" denoting "an eating sore that ends in mortification" (of the flesh).

Gas gangrene involves the invasion of a deep penetrating wound (in which the blood supply is compromised) by anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can survive with little or no oxygen) such as members of Clostridium  family of bacteria. The bacteria generate gas and pus Gas gangrene is an acute,painful, dangerous condition.

Dry gangrene is the death of tissue due to vascular insufficiency without bacterial invasion. The tissue simply dries up and shrivels.

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Dry Gangrene

Dry gangrene is a problem associated with diabetes mellitus that has lead to a thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) in which the affected limb becomes cold, dry, shriveled and may eventually turn black.

Wrong Diagnosis

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Moist Gangrene

Moist gangrene may follow a crushing or traumatic injury wherein there is a blockage of blood flow by a clot, embolism, tight bandages or tourniquet.

Wrong Diagnosis

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Gangrene

Mayo Clinic

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Gangrene

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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Gangrene

Gangrene is a medical term used to describe the death of an area of the body. It develops when the blood supply is cut off to the affected part as a result of various processes, such as infection, vascular (pertaining to blood vessels) disease, or trauma. Gangrene can involve any part of the body; the most common sites include the toes, fingers, feet, and hands.

Two major types of gangrene exist:

eMedicineHealth

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Gangrene

Health A to Z

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Gas Gangrene

eMedicine
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Diabetic Foot Gangrene

Sai Diabetic Foot Gangrene Hospital and Research Center

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Urinary Mayo tract infection

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinary-tract-infection/DS00286/DSECTION=complications

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What are complications of sinus infection?

http://www.medicinenet.com/sinusitis/page6.htm#8whatare

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Complicatilons, diagnosis, and treatment of odontogenic infections

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/complications-diagnosis-and-treatment-of-odontogenic-infections

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Infectious complications of lymphedema

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12162204

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Complications of kidney infection

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Kidney-infection/Pages/Complications.aspx 

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Possible Complications of Infections during Pregnancy

http://www.cuph.org/projects/pregnancy-infections/

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Related Lymphedema People Medical Blogs and Pages:

Bacterial Infections

http://bacteriainfections.blogspot.com

Antibiotics

http://antibioticinformation.blogspot.com/

Cellulitis

http://cellulitisinfections.blogspot.com/

MRSA Information

http://mrsainformation.blogspot.com/

Antibiotic Glossary

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=34

Antibiotic Therapy, Types of Antibiotics

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/lymphedema_antibiotics.htm

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Join us as we work for lymphedema patients everywehere:

Advocates for Lymphedema

Dedicated to be an advocacy group for lymphedema patients. Working towards education, legal reform, changing insurance practices, promoting research, reaching for a cure.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AdvocatesforLymphedema/

Subscribe: AdvocatesforLymphedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Pat O'Connor

Lymphedema People / Advocates for Lymphedema

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For information about Lymphedema

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For Lymphedema Personal Stories

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For information about How to Treat a Lymphedema Wound

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For information about Lymphedema Treatment 

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For information about Exercises for Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=exercises_for_lymphedema

For information on Infections Associated with Lymphedema

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=infections_associated_with_lymphedema

For information on Lymphedema in Children

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_in_children

Lymphedema Glossary

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=glossary:listing

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Lymphedema People - Support Groups

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Children with Lymphedema

The time has come for families, parents, caregivers to have a support group of their own. Support group for parents, families and caregivers of chilren with lymphedema. Sharing information on coping, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Sponsored by Lymphedema People.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/childrenwithlymphedema/

Subscribe: childrenwithlymphedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Lipedema Lipodema Lipoedema

No matter how you spell it, this is another very little understood and totally frustrating conditions out there. This will be a support group for those suffering with lipedema/lipodema. A place for information, sharing experiences, exploring treatment options and coping.

Come join, be a part of the family!

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/lipedema_lipodema_lipoedema/?yguid=209645515

Subscribe: lipedema_lipodema_lipoedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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MEN WITH LYMPHEDEMA

If you are a man with lymphedema; a man with a loved one with lymphedema who you are trying to help and understand come join us and discover what it is to be the master instead of the sufferer of lymphedema.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/menwithlymphedema/

Subscribe: menwithlymphedema-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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All About Lymphangiectasia

Support group for parents, patients, children who suffer from all forms of lymphangiectasia. This condition is caused by dilation of the lymphatics. It can affect the intestinal tract, lungs and other critical body areas.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/allaboutlymphangiectasia/

Subscribe: allaboutlymphangiectasia-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Lymphatic Disorders Support Group @ Yahoo Groups

While we have a number of support groups for lymphedema... there is nothing out there for other lymphatic disorders. Because we have one of the most comprehensive information sites on all lymphatic disorders, I thought perhaps, it is time that one be offered.

DISCRIPTION

IInformation and support for rare and unusual disorders affecting the lymph system. Includes lymphangiomas, lymphatic malformations, telangiectasia, hennekam's syndrome, distichiasis, Figueroa
syndrome, ptosis syndrome, plus many more. Extensive database of information available through sister site Lymphedema People.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/lymphaticdisorders/

Subscribe: lymphaticdisorders-suscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Lymphedema People New Wiki Pages

Have you seen our new “Wiki” pages yet?  Listed below are just a sample of the more than 140 pages now listed in our Wiki section. We are also working on hundred more.  Come and take a stroll! 

Lymphedema Glossary 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=glossary:listing 

Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema 

Arm Lymphedema  

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=arm_lymphedema 

Leg Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=leg_lymphedema 

Acute Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=acute_lymphedema 

The Lymphedema Diet 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=the_lymphedema_diet 

Exercises for Lymphedema  

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=exercises_for_lymphedema 

Diuretics are not for Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=diuretics_are_not_for_lymphedema 

Lymphedema People Online Support Groups 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_people_online_support_groups 

Lipedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lipedema 

Treatment 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=treatment 

Lymphedema and Pain Management 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_and_pain_management 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT)

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=manual_lymphatic_drainage_mld_complex_decongestive_therapy_cdt 

Infections Associated with Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=infections_associated_with_lymphedema 

How to Treat a Lymphedema Wound 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=how_to_treat_a_lymphedema_wound 

Fungal Infections Associated with Lymphedema 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=fungal_infections_associated_with_lymphedema 

Lymphedema in Children 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_in_children 

Lymphoscintigraphy 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphoscintigraphy 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=magnetic_resonance_imaging 

Extraperitoneal para-aortic lymph node dissection (EPLND) 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=extraperitoneal_para-aortic_lymph_node_dissection_eplnd 

Axillary node biopsy 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=axillary_node_biopsy

Sentinel Node Biopsy 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=sentinel_node_biopsy

 Small Needle Biopsy - Fine Needle Aspiration 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=small_needle_biopsy 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging 

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=magnetic_resonance_imaging 

Lymphedema Gene FOXC2

 http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_gene_foxc2

 Lymphedema Gene VEGFC

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_gene_vegfc

 Lymphedema Gene SOX18

 http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_gene_sox18

 Lymphedema and Pregnancy

http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/wiki/doku.php?id=lymphedema_and_pregnancy

Home page: Lymphedema People

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Page Updated: Dec. 27, 2011