Kimberly Macala


Sepsis is a condition of overwhelming infection not contained by the body's defenses. It can cause the body's organ systems to shut down and ultimately cause death. It is a common cause of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admission for babies delivered prematurely and results in 1.4 million deaths annually worldwide. As medical care of these premature babies improves, the number of babies that are able to survive being born early is increasing and therefore the number of babies that can be affected by sepsis is also increasing. There are changes in the body in response to sepsis. These include blood pressure and blood flow changes (hemodynamic changes) which can be measured in animal models. How blood vessels constrict and relax to control blood flow and blood pressure in sepsis can also be measured. Despite being a common issue, little is known about the long-term effects on blood vessel development. Even less is known about how these developmental changes effect function in adult life. There is no information to relate how early a baby is born with how the blood vessels will function after sepsis. This study examines hemodynamic changes in a premature birth model of sepsis that happens at a very early age to define long-term effects. This study also looks at how adult blood vessel constricting and relaxing functions after having sepsis as a premature baby and whether having high blood pressure as an adult can be related to having sepsis as a premature baby. This study will examine the blood vessel's ability to respond to medications designed to increase and lower blood pressure in adult life. This study will help physicians have a better understanding of the premature patient's response to sepsis with the goal of developing strategies to improve blood vessel long-term outcomes.