What Is Sepsis? The Serious Illness Former President Bill Clinton Has Been Hospitalized With

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What Is Sepsis? The Serious Illness Former President Bill Clinton Has Been Hospitalized With
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  • Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized for a urinary tract infection that lead to sepsis.

  • “He is on the mend, in good spirits, and incredibly thankful,” a spokesperson wrote.

  • The condition can be caused by any infection; Clinton’s sepsis is unrelated to COVID-19.

Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized for “a non-COVID-related infection,” a spokesperson said. “He is on the mend, in good spirits, and incredibly thankful to the doctors, nurses, and staff providing him with excellent care.”

Clinton, 75, was admitted to the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s intensive care unit on Tuesday evening for a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream, a condition known as sepsis, per CNN. There, he was administered IV antibiotics and fluids. UTIs don’t always cause symptoms, and they’re frequently overlooked or mistaken for other conditions in older adults, Mayo Clinic explains.

“He remains at the hospital for continuous monitoring,” read a joint statement from Alpesh Amin, M.D., chair of medicine at UC Irvine Medical Center, and Lisa Bardack, M.D., Clinton’s primary physician. “After two days of treatment, his white blood cell count is trending down, and he is responding to antibiotics well. ... We hope to have him go home soon.”

Clinton has been up and walking, CNN reports, and he was apparently only admitted to the ICU for privacy, not because he requires intensive care. The former president, who lives primarily in New York, had been in California for a private event related to his foundation, The New York Times reports.

What is sepsis, exactly?

Sepsis, an extreme response to an infection, is a “life-threatening medical emergency,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Essentially, the body’s response to an infection that enters the bloodstream, damaging its own tissues. At least 1.7 million American adults develop sepsis each year, the agency explains, and 270,000 die from the condition annually.

Any infection, including COVID-19, can cause sepsis, the CDC notes, although Clinton’s representatives clarified that his condition is related to a UTI, not SARS-CoV-2. People over 65, those with chronic medical conditions, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk of developing sepsis, per the CDC. Symptoms include high heart rate, shivering, confusion, shortness of breath, and clammy skin.

Clinton, who has a family history of heart disease, underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery in 2004, after chest pains and shortness of breath prompted doctors to discover life-threatening heart disease. Doctors later inserted two stents into the former president’s native coronary artery in 2010.

Clinton will likely be switched to oral antibiotics today, according to CNN, and could be discharged soon, should his condition continue to improve.

We wish the former president a speedy recovery!

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