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Spinal infections could turn into sepsis if not quickly diagnosed

Did you undergo an invasive medical procedure on your spine? If so, your doctors probably informed you that anytime the surface of the skin is broken, the risk of infection exists, but he or she may have downplayed the seriousness of this possibility. Whether your doctor puts too much faith in the sterility of the environment or just doesn't want to alarm you unnecessarily, you went under the knife confident you would not contract an infection.

Unfortunately, you did. Spinal infections require diligence to diagnose since the symptoms are few. You may not even have a fever or experience any pain or telltale signs other than the fact that your back hurts, perhaps a lot. You or your doctor could easily dismiss this pain since you just had a procedure done on your spine, and some pain is expected. However, you aren't the medical expert; your doctor is supposed to be.

Common spinal infections

If you did contract an infection, it could be one of those listed below:

  • An epidural abscess occurs in the spinal canal. If you are age 50 or older, your risk of this type of infection is greater than it is for your younger counterparts.
  • The most common type of infection that attacks the bones in your spine is vertebral osteomyelitis.
  • Discitis only occurs in one of every 100,000 patients. As the name indicates, this infection occurs in the discs in your spine.

Even when patients receive new treatments administered quickly for the above infections, around 20 percent die as a result. If you have any risk factors associated with contracting a spinal infection, your doctor should closely monitor you to catch one before it spreads or worse. Without timely diagnosis and treatment, such infections could also turn into sepsis.

Sepsis is not an infection but a condition

You could be among other Texas residents who believe sepsis is an infection, but it's not. Instead, your immune system begins attacking your body in this secondary condition. Left undiagnosed, this condition progresses into severe sepsis and then septic shock. Your organs could shut down, and you could die. If diagnosed early enough, sepsis is quite treatable, and you could walk away with no ill effects.

However, if your doctor fails to diagnose it as he or she failed to diagnose your infection in a timely manner, you could end up spending time in the ICU and suffering lifelong repercussions from this condition, and it all started with some medical mistake either in the operating room or in your post-operative care or both.

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