Dr. John Chovan
Sepsis, Shock, Infection, Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS)
Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing
Sepsis is defined as “life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection” (Singer et al, 2016). Despite being a lesser-known evil when compared to myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident, sepsis occurs in more than 230,000 patients in the United States annually and is the cause of more than 40,000 deaths per year (Seymour & Rosengart, 2015). Although the prevalence of sepsis in the hospital setting is common, the presentation varies making sepsis difficult to diagnose. Patients presenting to the hospital with sepsis can have a variety of complaints all of which stem from an infectious source. This infectious source, if allowed to progress untreated, can cause the patient to become septic. Initial signs of sepsis include meeting Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) criteria. This criteria is made up of 4 variables: heart rate >90, respiratory rate >20, temperature >38 degrees Celsius or <36 degrees Celsius, and White Blood Cell (WBC) count >12000 or <4000. With the high prevalence and relatively low knowledge of sepsis amongst both patients and healthcare providers, education on sepsis pathophysiology must be provided in order to prevent the mortality rate from climbing ever higher.
Akers, Alex, "Sepsis Pathophysiology" (2017). Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Student Scholarship. 213.