Sepsis

Also known as: septicemia, severe sepsis, septic shock.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a complication that can occur in the body’s bloodstream as the result of an infection. Chemicals released into the blood in response to the infection can cause severe complications and potential organ failure. Untreated sepsis eventually can lead to septic shock and even death.

What causes sepsis? 
When the body experiences an infection, it releases a variety of chemicals as part of the immune systems response to the infection. If these chemicals enter the bloodstream and cause problems, sepsis can result. It occurs more commonly in the elderly or those with compromised immunity.

What are the symptoms of sepsis? 
Symptoms of sepsis include fever, high heart rate, rapid breathing, mental changes, abdominal pain, low blood pressure and potentially more severe complications.

What are sepsis care options? 
Sepsis is a medical emergency. Antibiotics and other medications may be administered intravenously. Often, other supportive measures such as fluids and supplemental oxygen are needed. Surgery may be required to remove problem areas of infection from the body.

Reviewed by: Manuel Rafael Cotilla, MD

This page was last updated on: 5/7/2018 10:13:17 AM

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