Now that you or someone you care about has survived sepsis, you may have many questions about what comes next. According to statistics, there are more than 1.4 million sepsis survivors every year in the United States alone. Many who survive are left with life-changing challenges.

Some of the long-lasting effects of sepsis are obvious, such as missing limbs or organ dysfunction, like kidney failure. How long it takes for the body’s organs to begin working properly again varies widely between people. Other after effects of sepsis are less obvious, such as memory loss or the inability to do simple arithmetic.

There is so much that we don’t know yet about sepsis and we don’t have many hard answers. But as sepsis becomes more present in the news and as more people ask and talk about it, using the word, it is being noticed. As attention increases, through efforts by the general public and by Sepsis Alliance, we will get more answers.

In September 2010, the Society of Critical Care Medicine in the United States held a conference to discuss issues relating to rehabilitation for patients recovering from severe illnesses, like sepsis. Dr. Carl Flatley, founder of Sepsis Alliance, participated. The rehabilitation – or after care – is needed not only in the hospital environment, but at home as part of community care.

The conference participants concluded that there is an urgent need to address the long-term needs of survivors of severe illnesses, like sepsis, for both the patients and their families. This includes raising awareness and education, identifying barriers that may get in the way of post-intensive care rehabilitation, and identifying research gaps and resources that need to be addressed in order to improve long-term care for survivors.


Sepsis Survivors

Now that you or someone you care about has survived sepsis, you may have many questions about what comes next.

There are more than 1.7 million cases of sepsis every year and survivors often face long-term effects post-sepsis, including amputations, anxiety, memory loss, chronic pain and fatigue, and more. Almost 60% of sepsis survivors experience worsened cognitive (mental) and/or physical function. Many sepsis survivors also require rehospitalization. According to research published in JAMA in January 2018, this higher risk of another infection results from the body’s immune system taking several weeks or months to fully recover from the initial bout of sepsis.  The findings show about one-third of patients have another hospitalization within three months of the initial sepsis, most commonly due to a repeat episode of sepsis or another infection. And among children, almost half who have had severe sepsis end up being hospitalized again.

There are several commonly asked questions in the FAQ section of the website. Many are about life after sepsis.

There are also sections on post-sepsis syndrome (PSS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Sepsis Alliance has put together a letter that may help explain to healthcare professionals the impact of PSS. If you believe that this letter can help, you can print it out here.

Here are some of the more common issues and questions that are asked by people who have had sepsis or who know someone who had it.

Life After Sepsis

Post-Sepsis Syndrome (PSS)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Read what PTSD is, how it is diagnosed, and some ways it may be treated.


Read about why amputations are sometimes necessary when someone has sepsis and what happens after. Some resources are listed.


Life After Sepsis FAQs


How You Can Help


Volunteering for Sepsis Alliance is a great way for people to become involved in the promotion of sepsis awareness.

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