What is bacteremia and how is it associated with sepsis?

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

Bacteremia is defined as the presence of viable bacteria within the liquid component of blood (blood infection). It may be primary (without an identifiable focus of infection) or, more often, secondary (with an intravascular or extravascular focus of infection). Although sepsis is associated with bacterial infection, bacteremia is not a necessary ingredient in the activation of the inflammatory response that results in sepsis. In fact, septic shock is associated with culture-positive bacteremia in only 30-50% of cases. [3, 4, 5]


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