Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have made a breakthrough that may help doctors identify patients who are at greater risk of contracting sepsis, a potentially life-threatening infection complication.
Sepsis occurs when the immune system malfunctions during an infection, leading to rapid inflammation that can be fatal.
Sepsis most commonly affects the elderly and people with already weakened immune systems.
Doctor Matthew Hayden, one of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock researchers, says the new findings may help doctors better tailor treatment to individual sepsis patients.
"Trying to be more selective in which patients you're trying to quiet the immune response versus which patients you might be more interested in activating the immune response," Hayden said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sepsis is responsible for about 250,00 deaths annually in the United States.