Washington: Patients with sepsis face a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks in the first four weeks after hospital discharge, according to a study.
Researchers looked at data on more than one million people in Taiwan, of whom 42 316 patients had sepsis, matched with control patients in the hospital and the general population.
All sepsis patients had at least one organ dysfunction, 35 per cent were in the intensive care unit and 22 per cent died within 30 days of admission. In the total group of patients with sepsis, 1012 had a cardiovascular event, 831 had a stroke and 184 had a myocardial infarction within 180 days of discharge from the hospital.
The risk was highest in the first seven days after discharge, with more than one-quarter (26 per cent) of myocardial infarction or stroke occurring in the immediate period and 51 per cent occurring within 35 days.
"We found that within the first 4 weeks after discharge from hospital was the critical period with a markedly elevated risk of myocardial infarction and stroke," wrote Dr Chien-Chang Lee, Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital.
The authors also found that younger patients with sepsis aged 20 to 45 years were at higher risk of heart attack or stroke compared to patients over age 75.
This study extended the findings of a Danish study that reported similar trends.
"Based on our study (Han Chinese) and the study in Denmark (European) that reported similar findings for two different ethnic groups, it is likely that these results are generalizable to different populations," wrote the authors.
The findings have been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.