Wednesday 23 May 2018

Local professor playing leading role in sepsis fight

Hubert Murphy

The dangers of sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning, has again been raised by Drogheda man Prof. Steve Kerrigan, Associate Professor in Pharmacology at RCSI and inventor of InnovoSep, a potential new breakthrough therapy in the fight against sepsis.

Sepsis is now seen as a bigger killer than heart attack or lung or breast cancer. He says there were more than 15,000 recorded cases of sepsis in Ireland in 2016, resulting in 3,000 deaths*, and 60% of all deaths in hospital** are related to a sepsis infection.

He addressed a public lecture on the subject at the Royal College of Surgeons recently. Sepsis does not have any specific signs and symptoms.

"Sepsis does not discriminate. Everyone, including the youngest and fittest of us, is potentially susceptible,' he states.

The latest lecture in the RCSI MyHealth lecture series raised awareness of the symptoms of Sepsis - which can kill in 12 hours. The symptoms of sepsis are like flu - high temperature, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, pain, pale or mottled skin, and feeling generally very sick.

The main difference between sepsis symptoms and flu is that sepsis will come on very quickly whereas flu comes on over days.

Sepsis can occur as a result of a cut, scrape or break in the skin and that can cause infection.

'All wounds need to cleaned quickly with clean water. If you have a wound that can't close, then you most likely need stitches and you should get to a hospital,' he stated.

Prof Kerrigan is an honours graduate in B.Sc Pharmacology from King's College University of London, UK and obtained an M.Sc in Immunopharmacology from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland Ciarán Staunton, of the Rory Staunton Foundation, also spoke of the tragedy of Sepsis.

In 2012, his son, 12 year old Rory, developed sepsis after cutting his arm playing basketball. Tragically, Rory's sepsis went undiagnosed until it was too late, and he passed away. 

Prof. Ger Curley, RCSI Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Anaesthesia and Dr. Fidelma Fitzpatrick, RCSI Senior Lecturer and Consultant Microbiologist also spoke.

Drogheda Independent