GROWING awareness of the symptoms of sepsis has led to a drop in the number of people dying from the illness, medical experts have said.

Figures obtained from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) through a Freedom of Information request reveal an increase in the number of hospital admissions caused by sepsis but a drop in the number of deaths linked to the infection.

Sepsis is a life-threatening complication that occurs when the body responds to an infection by attacking its own tissues and organs.

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Symptoms include cold hands and feet, mottled skin, increased heart rate, fever, quickened breathing and confusion.

It can quickly lead to multiple organ failure and death but is often misdiagnosed or detected too late.

A total of 16,978 cases of sepsis were recorded in the NHSGGC area, which includes Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, between the start of 2013 and the end of last year.

There were 755 deaths in the area linked to the infection during that time.

In 2013, a total of 153 people died with sepsis recorded as an underlying cause but that figure had dropped to 114 by last year.

Health chiefs have welcomed the drop in the number of fatalities.

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A spokesperson for NHSGGC said: “Professor Kevin Rooney, one of the consultants in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley, has been at the forefront of the fight against sepsis in Scotland and was involved in the development of a new app for our staff to spot the signs and symptoms of sepsis and quickly begin the appropriate treatment.

“This has resulted in patients being identified with sepsis and provided with the appropriate treatment.”

The latest figures come as geneticists in Edinburgh lead a study to determine whether a person’s DNA makes them more likely to die from infections.

They hope the research will accelerate the search for new medicines and help identify those most vulnerable to sepsis.

Researchers will compare DNA from people admitted to hospital who later die from sepsis with those who survive. They hope to isolate DNA signals from thousands of patients and use the information to identify future drug targets.

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