Symptoms and Signs of Sepsis (Blood Infection)

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Sepsis (Blood Infection)

Sepsis refers to the presence of a serious infection that has disseminated in the body through the bloodstream. It is sometimes referred to as septicemia and as “blood poisoning” by lay persons. Sepsis involves widespread organ dysfunction and can cause many different symptoms and signs. Most commonly, sepsis is due to a widespread bacterial infection in the bloodstream.

The main symptoms of sepsis are a drop in blood pressure (low blood pressure), fast respiratory rate, and change sin mental status like sleepiness, confusion, or delirium. Other symptoms and signs can also be associated with sepsis. Associated symptoms can include fever or a low body temperature, chills, fast heart rate, fatigue, dizziness, flushing, and shortness of breath. Sepsis can also cause a drop in urine production, shock, and organ failure.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.