Can a routine hospital stay upset the balance of microbes in our bodies so much that it sets some older people up for a life-threatening health crisis called sepsis? A new University of Michigan and VA study suggests this may be the case.
It shows that older adults are three times more likely to develop sepsis — a body-wide catastrophic response to infection — in the first three months after leaving a hospital than at any other time.
What’s more, the risk of sepsis in that short post-hospital time is 30 percent higher for people whose original hospital stay involved care for any type of infection — and 70 percent higher for those who had a gut infection called Clostridium difficile.
In fact, one in 10 C. diff survivors end up with sepsis within three months of their hospital stay, according to the new study published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. It’s the first analysis of its kind.
The researchers chose to look at the relationship between hospitalization and sepsis because of a growing understanding that antibiotics and other infection treatments disrupt the body’s microbiome — the natural community of bacteria and other organisms that is vital for healthy body function. In turn, C. difficile preys upon hospital patients who have a disrupted gut microbiome. [continue]
Has news about the importance of the microbiome been showing up everywhere in your world, too? Or is it just the stuff I read that is full of microbiome news?