This page is designed to organize content that is relevant to the topic of sepsis. This term is used often in medicine, and it is important that to become as familiar as possible with it.
WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?
Before going any farther, let us make sure we clearly define the “medical problem”. Sepsis refers to a dysregulated inflammatory response to an infection (often accompanied by a inflammatory response) . It can lead to septic shock (the most common cause of distributive shock).
Criteria and definitions for sepsis may sometimes vary, however traditionally patients who meet the SIRS criteria and have a clear source of infection can be called septic. The SIRS criteria are listed below (2 out of 4 have to be met):
- Temp >38°C (100.4°F) or < 36°C (96.8°F)
- Heart Rate > 90
- Respiratory Rate > 20 or PaCO2 < 32 mm Hg
- WBC > 12,000/mm3, < 4,000/mm3, or > 10% bands
WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?
Sepsis can exist on a spectrum of severity: it ranges from infection and bacteremia to sepsis and septic shock (which can lead to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and death)
ORGANIZING THE DIFFERENTIAL
The differential diagnosis for TERM can be organized in a few different ways:
- Can’t miss diagnosis
- Organ systen
- Disease category
- Diagnostic modality
- Most common diagnosis
Now that the possible causes of TERM have been established, the focus can shift to how one would actually “work-up” a patient who presents with TERM.
- Collecting the history
- Performing the physical
- Ordering studies/tests
- Intrepreting clinical data
The treatment of TERM may vary depending on the etiology of the condition, and is elaborated upon more below:
- Overview of treatments
Page Updated: 02.27.2018