What are the risk factors for severe sepsis and 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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Risk factors for sepsis and septic shock include the following:

  • Extremes of age (70 years)

  • Primary diseases (eg, liver cirrhosis, alcoholism, diabetes mellitus, cardiopulmonary diseases, solid malignancy, and hematologic malignancy)

  • Immunosuppression (eg, from neutropenia, immunosuppressive therapy [eg, in organ and bone marrow transplant recipients], corticosteroid therapy, injection or IV drug use [see the image below], complement deficiencies, asplenia)

  • Major surgery, trauma, burns

  • Invasive procedures (eg, placement of catheters, intravascular devices, prosthetic devices, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis catheters, or endotracheal tubes)

  • Previous antibiotic treatment

  • Prolonged hospitalization

  • Underlying genetic susceptibility

  • Other factors (eg, childbirth, abortion, and malnutrition)

A 28-year-old woman who was a former intravenous d A 28-year-old woman who was a former intravenous drug user (human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] status: negative) developed septic shock secondary to bilateral pneumococcal pneumonia.

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