What does an altered mental status indicate 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

Altered mental status is another common feature of sepsis. It is considered a sign of organ dysfunction and is associated with increased mortality. Mild disorientation or confusion is especially common in elderly individuals. Other manifestations include apprehension, anxiety, and agitation. Profound cases may involve obtundation or comatose states. The cause of these mental status abnormalities is not entirely understood, but in addition to cerebral hypoperfusion, altered amino acid metabolism has been proposed as a causative factor.


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