What is the etiology of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)?

Updated: May 07, 2018
  • Author: Lewis J Kaplan, MD, FACS, FCCM, FCCP; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

The etiology of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is broad and includes infectious and noninfectious conditions, surgical procedures, trauma, medications, and therapies. The inciting molecular stimuli inducing the above generalized inflammatory reaction fall into two broad categories, pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). PAMPs become present when infection of foreign cell lysis releases these foreign molecules intrinsic to their structure into the circulation, whereas DAMPs arise when cellular injury occurs at rates that overwhelm local clearance mechanisms. Thus, it can be seen that generalized bacteremia, severe pneumonia (viral or bacterial), severe trauma with tissue injury, and pancreatitis all share common inflammatory activation pathways.


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