Sepsis

Sepsis: Overview

Alternative Names: Septicemia.  The term septicemia is no longer used by the consensus committee.

Sepsis is a serious, rapidly progressing, life-threatening infection that can arise secondary to localized infections of the respiratory, genitourinary or gastrointestinal tract, or from the skin. It may precede or coincide with infections of the bone, central nervous system or other tissues.

Signs and Symptoms

Onset of sepsis is heralded by spiking fevers and chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, the outward appearance of being seriously ill (toxic) and a feeling of impending doom.  These symptoms rapidly progress to shock with decreased body temperature (hypothermia), falling blood pressure, confusion or other changes in the mental status, and clotting abnormalities evidenced by hemorrhagic lesions in the skin.

Complications

Sepsis can rapidly lead to septic shock and death, being associated with organisms such as meningococci that can lead to shock, adrenal collapse and disseminated intravascular coagulation.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Sepsis:

Lab Values - Cells

Symptoms - Metabolic

Conditions that suggest Sepsis:

Lab Values

Neutrophilia may suggest Sepsis Neutrophilia

Inflammation, sepsis, necrosis, and immune-mediated disease can cause increased tissue demand and increased bone marrow release of neutrophils.

Neutropenia may suggest Sepsis Neutropenia

Neutropenia can be caused by widespread, severe bacterial infection that causes pus formation or bacteria in the blood, which in turn leads to increased destruction of neutrophils.

Risk factors for Sepsis:

Organ Health

Consequences of Splenectomy often increases risk of Sepsis Consequences of Splenectomy

Certain bacteria, including pneumococcus and hemophilus, that are usually confined to local infections may become blood-borne (septic) and widespread in splenectomized persons.  To avoid this potentially fatal situation, they are usually instructed to seek medical attention promptly for all fevers or obvious infections.

Endocarditis may increase risk of Sepsis Endocarditis

Infection of the heart valve can spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, causing infection in the blood (septicemia) and in other parts of the body.

Sepsis suggests the following may be present:

Emergency Care

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of
Definite or direct link: suggests
Definite or direct link:
suggests