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Children's National Research Links Platelets to Sepsis-Related Organ Failure
Date:3/11/2009

Conventionally thought to be the bloodstream's "innocent bystanders," platelets may actually play a more sinister role in organ failure caused by severe sepsis

Washington, DC (Vocus) March 11, 2009 -- Scientists at Children's National Medical Center have identified a previously unknown contributor to organ failure in patients suffering from sepsis: platelets.

The finding, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, is the first time doctors have looked at and linked platelets to poor outcomes from this often fatal infection.

"Despite many medical advances over the last few decades, mortality rates for sepsis have not really improved," said Robert Freishtat, MD, MPH, of the Center for Genetic Medicine Research at Children's National Medical Center, who led the study. "But now that we know that platelets, which we previously believed to be merely 'innocent bystanders,' can actually contribute to the development of fatal complications from sepsis, we can use this knowledge to better gauge someone's risk of dying and to design new interventions."

Sepsis is the tenth leading cause of death in the Uni
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