University of Florida Health has been awarded a $12 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a one-of-a-kind center to help generate treatments and prevention strategies for one of the most devastating issues critically ill patients face.
The Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center, the first of its kind in the nation, will study long-term outcomes in patients treated for sepsis in the surgical and trauma intensive care units at UF Health Shands Hospital, with the goal of developing clinical solutions for sepsis as well as illnesses that stem from it and their enduring, dismal effects.
Sepsis is a severe, systemic combination of infection and inflammation that can shut down organs, depress, or overactivate the immune system and cause death. Death from sepsis was once common, but improved treatments help many people survive to leave the hospital after battling it. Severe sepsis leaves lasting effects, however, that scientists are only beginning to understand.
Dr. A. Daniel Martin, a professor in the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions’ department of physical therapy, will lead one of four main projects to be initiated in the center’s first five years of operation. Dr. Martin’s project will focus on one of the most debilitating effects of sepsis: muscle wasting. Researchers want to determine whether clinically practical rehabilitation techniques — administered at the ICU patient’s bedside — can improve diaphragm and lower-limb muscle strength.
Weakness in the diaphragm and legs prevents patients from breathing and walking independently, and is thought to create a slew of other problems.
The Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center is led by Dr. Frederick A. Moore, chief of acute care surgery at UF Health, and includes a multidisciplinary group of researchers throughout the health system, including the UF department of biostatistics in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine.