Can the signs of sepsis and septic shock be observed in a physical exam?

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

The hallmarks of sepsis and septic shock are changes that occur at the microvascular and cellular level with diffuse activation of inflammatory and coagulation cascades, vasodilation and vascular maldistribution, capillary endothelial leakage, and dysfunctional utilization of oxygen and nutrients at the cellular level. The challenge for clinicians is to recognize that this process is under way when it may not be clearly manifested in the vital signs or clinical examination.


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