Coda Cure: Conversation 3
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.
Simon Finfer is an intensive care clinician and researcher in Sydney, a Professorial Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health, Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales, Senior Staff Specialist at Royal North Shore Hospital and Director of Intensive Care at the Sydney Adventist Hospital. Simon was a founding member and is a past-Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Clinical Trials Group, past chair of the Council of the International Sepsis Forum, and current Vice President of the Global Sepsis Alliance. Simon was appointed an Officer (AO) in the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List June 2020 for “distinguished service to intensive care medicine, to medical research and education, and to global health institutes”.