Pregnancy-associated severe sepsis


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewThis article examines the contemporary knowledge and uncertainties about the burden of pregnancy-associated severe sepsis (PASS), and its manifestations, management, and outcomes.Recent findingsThere are relatively sparse data on PASS, related in part to infrequent reports and varying use of terminology and case definitions. PASS remains rare, although its incidence appears to be rapidly rising in some high-resource countries, affecting especially women with limited resources, minorities, and those with chronic illness. High level of clinician vigilance and rapid initiation of appropriate antimicrobial therapy, coupled with effective systemic support for organ dysfunction and correction of occult and overt hypoperfusion are the keys to limit adverse outcomes. However, timely diagnosis and provision of effective care remain a challenge, with reported prevalent delay in recognition and delivery of time-sensitive care interventions among maternal decedents. The mortality rate of PASS has been rising and its case fatality, although relatively low, has remained unchanged, in contrast to the outcome gains in the general population. The long-term sequelae of PASS remain unknown.SummaryThe relatively limited contemporary data on PASS suggest a rising public health hazard in the obstetric population in high-resource countries, with ongoing challenges in assuring consistent provision of time-sensitive care.

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