Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Austin Health sepsis expert gains worldwide recognition

Austin Health’s Director of Intensive Care Research, Professor Rinaldo Bellomo, has again been recognised as a world expert in sepsis.

As part of events to mark the recent World Sepsis Day, Prof Bellomo was acknowledged by online referral engine Expertscape as one of the top three sepsis experts in the world from a field of international researchers.

Expertscape analyses the published research of subject matter experts to assess how many articles they have published and which publication they appear in in to assign a score to each researcher from around the world. This process saw Prof Bellomo ranked third among all sepsis experts globally.

Prof Bellomo said sepsis is a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition that results from the body’s response to an infection.

“Studies have shown that sepsis affects more than half of the patients who are hospitalised due to COVID-19 and more than three quarters of those in ICU,” Prof Bellomo said.

“As with everything in the rest of the world, COVID is dominating sepsis research which is helping to give us a better understanding of the biology of the disease.

“However, patients continue to get sepsis from COVID as well as from other conditions in the same way they always have including secondary infections in patients who are ventilated.

“Austin Health is involved in an international pilot study looking to block one of the way cells are injured by sepsis.

“When injured cells breakdown, they release proteins known as histones which are toxic, positively-charged membranes that damage other healthy cells.

“This study is looking at effectiveness of using medications that use safe, negatively-charged molecules to block the histones and their impact.

“It is a privilege to work at Austin Health and be part of something that is bigger than just the buildings we work in. We have world-class people doing world-class work and that is something we should all be very proud of,” he said.

Prof Bellomo’s message to help avoid the potentially deadly impacts of COVID-related sepsis is simply to get vaccinated.

“We actually take it for granted but vaccination is the most extraordinary invention in the history of mankind!” he said.

“It allows us to treat the consequences of infection before they even occur and literally saves millions of lives every year.

“We should be aiming to achieve 95% or 96% COVID vaccination across the population, the same as we are able to do with vaccinations for polio, pneumococcal and whooping cough in children.”​​​​​​​