Neutropenic sepsis: Cause, diagnosis, and treatment

CPD hours:

Neutropenic sepsis is a significant infection following immunosuppression due to a low neutrophil count.

It is a common and predictable complication of bone marrow disorders and anticancer treatments, particularly chemotherapy.

The estimated incidence is 70-100% during the neutropenic phase after intensive cytotoxic therapy.

Neutropenic sepsis is a time-critical oncological emergency.

It is the leading cause of non-relapse related mortality in patients with cancer undergoing intensive chemotherapy.

The risk of life-threatening infection is related to the degree of immunosuppression, as indicated by the neutrophil count.

Optimising diagnosis and management of neutropenic sepsis can improve outcomes and reduce mortality for patients undergoing cytotoxic cancer therapies.

This module focuses on

  • Neutropenic sepsis in adults secondary to cytotoxic anticancer treatments.
  • Causes of neutropenic sepsis and the assessment and treatment of patients.
  • The integral role of registered nurses who come in contact with patients with cancer in the identification and management of neutropenic sepsis.

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At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Describe neutropenia and when it might occur in patients with cancer.
  • Describe neutropenic sepsis.
  • Explain why early identification of neutropenic sepsis is important.
  • Discuss the management of neutropenic sepsis.
  • Provide information about strategies that patients with neutropenia can use to minimise their risk of contracting an infection.

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

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