What is abortion with septic shock?
Abortion with septic shock is a critical case that requires extra fast medical attention.
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. A pregnancy can be aborted in several ways. They are surgical, spontaneous, self-induced or medical abortion. In a surgical abortion, a trusted medical doctor uses a vacuum to remove the pregnancy materials or tissues, that is, the growing baby and its accompanying placenta. In spontaneous abortion, otherwise called a miscarriage, the pregnancy tissue is lost from the pregnant woman’s body. All or part of the tissues can be lost in abortion cases. When some are left in the woman’s body, a doctor will have to be consulted for its complete removal. In self-induced abortion, the pregnant woman terminates the pregnancy herself in sometimes dangerous ways. Over-the-counter-drugs and unregulated traditional means can be used to achieve this. In medical abortion, the pregnancy materials can be removed by prescribed medications. This will often lead to a miscarriage.
Any of these abortion types when not properly done can cause serious infections. And the consequence of that infection is called septic shock. Septic shock is an abnormally low blood pressure due to the chronic spread of an infection in the body. This can take the life of a woman if not urgently attended to.
Photo Credit: Onchohema Key
Symptoms of abortion with septic shock
Septic shock is an alarming condition that requires a quick visit to the hospital for help. If you have had an abortion lately and are experiencing any of the under listed symptoms, kindly seek a doctor’s help as soon as now;
- Palpitations of your heart. Palpitation of the heart is when you are unusually aware of your heart beat and it is very fast; as if your heart is going to jump out of your heart into your hands.
- Uncontrolled bleeding that comes heavily.
- Arms and legs that are looking pale and feeling cold at the same time.
- Abnormal body temperature. This can be either very high or very low.
- A cold that comes with uncontrollable shaking
- Aching pains
- Low blood pressure. You will experience this while standing.
- Confused feelings. These may be accompanied by fatigue and restlessness.
- Difficulty in urinating.
- Rapid breathing. It usually is accompanied by difficulty and shortness of breath
Causes of abortion with septic shock
Abortion with septic shock usually is an aftermath effect of an abortion. It manifests when a bacterial infection contaminates your body. The infection although can be restricted to a place, can penetrate other areas of the body upon gaining access to the blood. Once this happens, a systemic reaction will take place. This reaction is what will lead to a sepsis. The body will typically react first by causing the body temperature to either drastically rise or fall.
It will also cause white blood cells to either rise or fall sharply. It will as well bring about increased heart and breathing rate.
Sepsis, by virtue of weakening the immune system of the body, weakens the body’s immune responses. When this happens, the organs of the body will start failing. This condition keeps worsening until the blood pressure falls to a level that is too dangerous for health. At this state, it is usually hard to respond to treatment. This is when it becomes a shock induced by sepsis- septic shock. Hope you understand.
An incomplete abortion or a bacterial infection due to a self-induced or surgical abortion are the two (2) key factors that can lead to the onset of a sepsis which will eventually cause a septic shock. In an incomplete abortion, some pregnancy tissues are left in the woman’s womb. A spontaneous, self-induced, surgical or medical abortion can bring about this.
Risk factors for abortion with septic shock
Your risk of developing a septic shock will be increased when the chances of bacteria entering your bloodstream are very high. Surgery or medical procedures even predispose you the more to having it because you never can tell whether the any of the devices (i.e. catheters, breathing tubes, drainage tubes, vacuum etc.) that were introduced into your body have been infected with bacteria or not.
The longer the device is in your body, the higher your risk for a sepsis.
The risk of developing septic shock is greatly increased in an abortion that is self-induced, perhaps due to the fact that medically sterilized devices are not been utilized. When household materials are used for a self-induced abortion, the rate at which germs can spread in the body is high because these items are not sterilized.
Also, when there are certain underlying cases such as diabetes or a weak immune system before an abortion is carried out, septic shock can be almost inevitable.
That is why most medical abortion procedures will usually recommend an ultrasound after an abortion to check whether any pregnancy tissues are still in the woman’s womb or not. That is wisdom. Otherwise, the medical doctor can be the cause of a woman having an abortion-induced sepsis.
Complications of abortion with septic shock
Septic shock requires a prompt medical attention as it will not waste time in causing different organ failures and eventually render useless, different parts of the body. Its common complications are; gangrene (the death of body tissues as a result of blood loss) and failures of the heart, liver, kidney and the respiratory system.
The infected tissues (i.e. ovaries, uterus, fallopian tube, and cervix) will have to be removed surgically by a process called hysterectomy. Removing the infected tissue is removing the source of the infection.
Diagnosis of abortion with septic shock
Diagnosis of abortion-induced septic shock can usually be confirmed using laboratory tests such as:
- Complete blood test: In complete blood test, all the cells in the blood (white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, etc.) are tested. The aim of a complete blood test is to see whether bacteria are present in the blood or not.
- Blood oxygen level test: The concentration of oxygen in the blood will also test whether it is lower than the normal. Sepsis decreases blood oxygen level.
- Organ function tests: The kidney, liver, heart, lungs etc. will be assessed to see if they are functioning well or not.
- Sample bacterial tests: Samples of your urine, fluid in your brain (cerebrospinal fluid), and lungs will be collected and tested for the presence or absence of bacteria. The fluids collected will be cultured. In culturing, the fluid or tissue as the case may be, is placed in an artificial medium in the laboratory so that the tissue can grow there. The growing tissue can then be monitored.
- Tissue sample tests: Tissues can be collected from your wound, if you have any, and tested for bacterial infection.
- CT scans: In a CT scan, cross-sectional images of the internal organs of the body are taken by powerful radio and electromagnetic waves. From the results obtained pregnancy tissues that are still present in the womb can be seen and removed immediately.
- Chest X-ray: Powerful X-ray waves are used to view and capture images of the chest from where images of the lungs can be viewed for the possible presence of fluids.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): in this test, electrodes are connected to different areas of your skin. These electrodes have the power to capture electrical activities of your heart and transmit them on a screen where they can be read off and interpreted. An ECG records the electrical activities of the heart, the rate at which it beats. From such recordings, it is therefore quick to detect the abnormal upon knowing what the normal is like. It can also show any irregularities in the flow of blood in the heart.
Treatment and recovery for abortion with septic shock
In order to appropriately treat a septic shock, what is usually focused on are infection source removal and vital organs protection? You should hence not delay a few seconds more when upon having an abortion, the symptoms show up.
Because it can take pretty many days to know the particular bacteria responsible for a septic shock, the condition will have to be treated while diagnostic tests are still ongoing on you. This will enhance your survival possibilities.
What the doctor attending to you will typically do is begin an antibiotics treatment on you. Two or more antibiotics will be administered to you. The reason why two or more antibiotics will be given to you will be to enhance the possibilities of getting rid of the bacteria since tests have not revealed what type it is.
Typical antibiotics used include gentamicin, ampicillin, and clindamycin.
Upon discovering the bacteria type, the treatment will be more specific to suit the bacteria type which can fall into any of the following;
- Artificial ventilation: In artificial ventilation, a breathing machine will be connected to your nose to aid your breathing. You will not have to breathe with your nose for the meantime until you have well treated.
- Administration of medication: Since septic short typically causes very low blood pressure, blood pressure booster drugs will be given to you so as to raise your blood pressure to the normal.
- Intravenous (IV) fluids therapy: In order to raise your blood pressure, you will be given fluids intravenously. By intravenously, it means it will be injected into your body through your veins.
- Hemodynamic checks: In this case, the pressures in your lungs and heart will be monitored for medical evaluation and diagnosis.
- Surgical approach: The surgical approach will come in to play when the abortion was incomplete. By incomplete, it means some pregnancy tissues were still in the womb and are responsible for the infection. To therefore remove such tissues, a procedure called a hysterectomy will be undertaken on you. But when your doctor suspects that the likely cause of your septic shock is due to an intestinal injury, a uterine hole, an abscess, or an infection of soft tissues in the abdominal cavity, he will rather perform a laparotomy on you. In laparotomy, your doctor performs a small cut on your abdominal area and then inserts a needle through it to the specific place in your abdominal cavity. By so doing, the affected tissue can be got rid of.
Prognosis for abortion with septic shock
The death rates associated with a septic shock are quite alarming. The success rates achieved from a septic shock treatment can be attributed to any of the following factors;
- How old you are.
- Your complete health state.
- The extent to which your organs have failed in their functions.
- The time at which your treatment commenced upon the presentation of symptoms after an abortion.
How to prevent a septic shock
If you are pregnant and are considering an abortion, do it the right way. By doing it the right way, it will mean that you will have to take precautionary measures by seeing a doctor that has been licensed to carry out an abortion; follow to the latter every instruction you are given in the process; desist from performing an abortion on yourself; be quick to discern symptoms of a bacterial-induced infections after an abortion and report such to your doctor; seek to be treated immediately once symptoms of infections present themselves.