Covid19 and Sepsis Syndromes

Are the Covid19 and Sepsis Syndromes one and the same? – Simon Finfer

The global burden of sepsis continues to challenge clinicians in its definition, diagnosis and treatment. The current COVID-19 pandemic seems to have almost taken our understanding of the Sepsis Syndrome back decades. What are the similarities between the current pandemic and sepsis? And what can we learn?

We have never avoided healthy controversy, and in this episode Simon Finfer puts the case that the multi-organ dysfunction and cytokine storm seen in critically ill COVID-19 infected patients is analogous to the conventional Sepsis Syndrome and ARDS.

Perhaps if we consider the current pandemic through a Sepsis lens, we can avoid making the same mistakes that we have made in Sepsis research for decades resulting in no licenced treatments for the Sepsis Syndrome.

Derek Angus agrees but makes the case that there are two distinct differences. Firstly, that the endothelial dysfunction appears different in COVID-19; and secondly, unlike sepsis in the case of COVID-19, the pathogen itself proceeds unabated by any currently proven treatment. This means we need a two pronged approach in COVID-19 research:

  1. Strategies purely aimed at combating the virus
  2. Strategies aimed at applying Sepsis lessons to the pandemic response.

The Presentation
The Podcast
The Speaker

Simon Finfer is a Pom who emigrated to Australia in 1993 to practice full time intensive care medicine. Despite being qualified 37 years and receiving an NHS pension he still works as a bedside clinician and takes night call. He loves his job because he works with fantastic people.

Finfer also designs and runs large clinical trials, writes paper, edits books and rides a 2017 Triumph Bonneville T120. He supports West Ham United and the English Cricket, Football and Rugby teams. He lives in Sydney with his wife, sons, two horses, four chickens, 3 ducks and one dog. Twitter handle is @icuresearch.


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Oliver Flower, staff specialist in Intensive Care Medicine at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney | CODA |

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