Sepsis is a syndrome, with a poorly understood pathogenesis, characterized clinically by a recognized set of signs and symptoms in someone with presumed infection.


Sepsis was defined by The Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3) in 2016 as "life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection" .

Septic shock forms a subpopulation of the sepsis cohort, manifesting as synchronous severe cardiovascular, cellular and metabolic dysfunctions, linked to an elevated risk of mortality, versus sepsis alone .

Establishing the diagnosis of septic shock in adult patients requires that despite satisfactory fluid resuscitation there is:


  • serum lactate >2 mmol/L

NB The separate condition "severe sepsis" has now been abandoned. "Septicemia" is generally not felt to be helpful any longer due to it being too narrow in scope.

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