Septic Shock – Infectious Disease

Complicated level of organ dysfunction that leads to a severe multiple organ failure

Sepsis or septic shock is a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) secondary to a documented infection in the body. Fatal septic shocks are developed due to a weakened immune system that affects the way it responds to bacteria, fungi, parasites, and other external organisms. It causes many other multiple organ dysfunction syndromes.

It is important to identify any potential source of infection. Localizing signs and symptoms referable to organ systems may provide useful clues to the etiology of sepsis and are as follows:

Head and neck infections – Severe headache, neck stiffness, altered mental status, earache, sore throat, sinus pain/tenderness, cervical/submandibular lymphadenopathy.

Many other patients also present with symptoms that involve:

Chest and pulmonary infections – Cough (especially if productive), pleuritic chest pain, dyspnea, dullness on percussion, bronchial breath sounds, localized rales, any evidence of consolidation.

Cardiac infections – Any new murmur, especially in patients with a history of injection or IV drug use.

Abdominal and gastrointestinal (GI) infections – Diarrhea, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, guarding or rebound tenderness, rectal tenderness or swelling.

Pelvic and genitourinary (GU) infections – Pelvic or flank pain, adnexal tenderness or masses, vaginal or urethral discharge, dysuria, frequency, urgency.

Bone and soft-tissue infections – Localized limb pain or tenderness, focal erythema, edema, swollen joint, crepitus in necrotizing infections, joint effusions.

Skin infections – Petechiae, purpura, erythema, ulceration, bullous formation, fluctuance.

Bacteremia represents a high level of bacteria infecting the blood, while septicemia is a high level of toxicity in the blood caused by microorganism and toxins that affect functionality. Septic shocks are mostly caused by a weak response in the immune system to severe or serious infections.

Gram-negative bacteria were diagnosed as the most common cause of sepsis cases across the globe. Nowadays, a strand of staphylococci (a genus of Gram-positive bacteria with a grape-like structure) is known to cause septic shocks more often that statistically speaking 50% of the cases are thought to be caused by these bacteria.

“Septic Shock .” Septic Shock. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.


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