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What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a severe illness caused by overwhelming infection of the bloodstream by toxin-producing bacteria. Microorganisms invading the body cause infections.

Sepsis is also called Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

Sepsis is very serious. It is often life-threatening.

What Causes Sepsis?

Sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection. The bacterial infection can originate anywhere in the body. The most common areas the infection originates from are:

In hospital patients, bacterial infection may originate from intravenous lines, surgical wounds, surgical drains, and sites of skin ulcers or bedsores.

Sepsis can also be triggered by events such as pneumonia, trauma, surgery and burns, or by conditions such as cancer or AIDS.

How is Sepsis Diagnosed?

Sepsis can be diagnosed by a blood test.

Symptoms of Sepsis

  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Hyperventilation
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Fever or hypothermia
  • Chills
  • Shaking
  • Decreased urine output
  • Warm skin
  • Confusion or delirium

Complications of Sepsis

In some cases, the kidneys, liver, lungs, and central nervous system, may stop functioning normally. There may also be a decreased blood flow to the kidneys, liver, lungs, and central nervous system.

Treatment Options for Sepsis

Treatment will depend on where the infection originated. In order to do this, the source of the infection must be found.

Who is at Risk for Developing Sepsis?

Anyone can develop sepsis. However, some people have a higher risk than others. People with a higher risk include:

  • People with a compromised immune system
  • People who have wounds or injuries, such as those from burns, a car crash, or a bullet
  • People who are have intravenous catheters, wound drainage, and urinary catheters

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