What is Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS)

Sepsis is a severe illness caused by overwheming infection of the bloodstream by toxin-producing bacteria.
This condition can develop either as a result of your body’s own defense system or from toxic substances made by the infecting agent (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus).

Statistics on Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS)

Sepsis occurs in approximatley 2 of every 100 hospital admissions. It is caused by bacterial infection that can originate anywhere in the body.

Risk Factors for Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS)

Those at risk:

  • Very young people and elderly people
  • Anyone who has had a transplant
  • People who are being treated with chemotherapy drugs or radiation
  • People with long-standing diabetes, AIDS, or cirrhosis
  • Someone who has very large burns or severe injuries
  • People with an infection:

Progression of Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS)

The death rate can be as high as 60% for people with underlying medical problems. Mortality is less (but still significant) in individuals without other medical problems.
Complications:

How is Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS) Diagnosed?

  • White blood cell count that is low or high
  • Platelet count that is low

Prognosis of Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS)

The death rate can be as high as 60% for people with underlying medical problems. Mortality is less (but still significant) in individuals without other medical problems.

How is Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS) Treated?

Septic patients usually require monitoring in an intensive care unit (ICU). “Broad spectrum” intravenous antibiotic therapy should be initiated as soon as sepsis is suspected.
The number of antibiotics administered may be decreased when the results of blood cultures become available and the causative organism is identified. The source of the infection should be discovered, if possible, which may mean further diagnostic testing. Sources such as infected intravenous lines or surgical drains should be removed, and sources such as abscesses should be surgically drained.
Supportive therapy with oxygen, intravenous fluids, and medications that increase blood pressure may be required for a good outcome. Dialysis may be necessary in the event of kidney failure, and mechanical ventilation is often required if respiratory failure occurs.

Sepsis (Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, SIRS) References

[1] eMEDICINE
[2] Fleisher GR: Infectious disease emergencies. In: Textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. 4th ed. 2000: 725-730.
[3] Medline Plus
[4] Stapczynski S: Bacteremia and septic shock. In: The Clinical Practice of Emergency Medicine. 3rd ed. 2001: 939-942.