What is the clinical presentation of bacterial sepsis?

Updated: Feb 05, 2019
  • Author: Amber Mahmood Bokhari, MBBS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Individuals with sepsis may present with localizing symptoms related to a specific site or source of infection or may present with nonspecific symptoms. Individuals with nonspecific symptoms are usually acutely ill with fever and may present with or without shaking chills. Mental status may be impaired in the setting of fever or hypotension. Patients with bacteremia from any source often display an increased breathing rate resulting in respiratory alkalosis. The skin of patients with sepsis may be warm or cold, depending on the adequacy of organ and skin perfusion. A detailed history and physical examination is essential in determining the likely source of the septic process (See History and Physical Examination). This helps the clinician to determine the appropriate treatment and antimicrobial therapy (see Treatment for further detail).

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.

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