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Sepsis (Septic Shock)

Topic Overview

Sepsis is an extreme immune system response to an infection that has spread throughout the blood and tissues. Severe sepsis, also called septic shock, often causes extremely low blood pressure, which limits blood flow to the body and can result in organ failure and death.

Symptoms of sepsis include either fever or low body temperature, rapid breathing, chills and shaking, rapid heartbeat, decreased urine output, and confusion or delirium.

Sepsis is most often the result of a bacterial infection, but it can also be caused by other types of infection. Sepsis can occur in people of any age, but it is more common in infants, older adults, and people who have compromised immune systems.

Sepsis is treated with antibiotics, fluids, and medicines to support blood pressure and prevent organ damage.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised May 13, 2013

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