What is sepsis and when does septic shock occur?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
  • Print
Answer

Sepsis is defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction due to dysregulated host response to infection, and organ dysfunction is defined as an acute change in total Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score of 2 points or greater secondary to the infection cause. [1] Septic shock occurs in a subset of patients with sepsis and comprises of an underlying circulatory and cellular/metabolic abnormality that is associated with increased mortality. Septic shock is defined by persisting hypotension requiring vasopressors to maintain a mean arterial pressure of 65 mm Hg or higher and a serum lactate level greater than 2 mmol/L (18 mg/dL) despite adequate volume resuscitation. [1] This new 2016 definition, also called Sepsis-3, eliminates the requirement for the presence of  systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) to define sepsis, and it removed the severe sepsis definition. What was previously called severe sepsis is now the new definition of sepsis.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!