What is the role of circulatory abnormalities in sepsis/septic shock?

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

As noted (see Shock Classification, Terminology, and Staging), septic shock falls under the category of distributive shock, which is characterized by pathologic vasodilation and shunting of blood from vital organs to nonvital tissues (eg, skin, skeletal muscle, and fat). The endothelial dysfunction and vascular maldistribution characteristic of distributive shock result in global tissue hypoxia or inadequate delivery of oxygen to vital tissues. In addition, mitochondria can become dysfunctional, thus compromising oxygen utilization at the cellular level.


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