Overview

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

If sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically, which may lead to death.

Anyone can develop sepsis, but it's most common and most dangerous in older adults or those with weakened immune systems. Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.

Jan. 15, 2016
References
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  2. AskMayoExpert. Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
  3. Schmidt GA, et al. Evaluation and management of severe sepsis and septic shock in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 23, 2015.
  4. Neviere R. Sepsis and the systemic inflammatory response syndrome: Definitions, epidemiology, and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 23, 2015.
  5. Hall JB, et al. Sepsis, severe shock, and septic shock. In: Principles of Critical Care. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Nov. 23, 2015.
  6. Sepsis and septic shock. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/critical-care-medicine/sepsis-and-septic-shock/sepsis-and-septic-shock. Accessed Nov. 23, 2015.