What are the age-related demographics of 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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Answer

Sepsis and septic shock occur at all ages. However, a strong correlation exists between advanced age and the incidence of septic shock, with a sharp increase in the number of cases in patients older than 50 years. [40, 45] At present, most sepsis episodes are observed in patients older than 60 years. Advanced age is a risk factor for acquiring nosocomial bloodstream infection (BSI) in the development of severe forms of sepsis.

Overall, compared with younger patients, elderly patients are more susceptible to sepsis, have less physiologic reserve to tolerate the insult from infection, and are more likely to have underlying diseases; all of these factors adversely affect survival. In addition, elderly patients are more likely to have atypical or nonspecific presentations with sepsis.


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