What should be the focus of clinical history when systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is suspected?

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

Despite having a relatively common physiologic pathway, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) has numerous triggers, and patients may present in various manners. The clinician's history should be focused around the chief symptom, with a pertinent review of systems being performed. Patients should be questioned regarding constitutional symptoms of fever, chills, and night sweats. This may help to differentiate infectious from noninfectious etiologies. The timing of symptom onset may also guide a differential diagnosis toward an infectious, traumatic, ischemic, or inflammatory etiology.


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