Septic shock

Alternative Names

Bacteremic shock; Endotoxic shock; Septicemic shock; Warm shock

Definition of Septic shock

Septic shock is a serious condition that occurs when an overwhelming infection leads to life-threatening low blood pressure.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Septic shock occurs most often in the very old and the very young. It also occurs in people who have other illnesses.

Symptoms

Septic shock can affect any part of the body, including the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, and intestines. Symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

Blood tests may be done to check for infection, low blood oxygen level, disturbances in the body’s acid-base balance, or poor organ function or organ failure.

Treatment

Septic shock is a medical emergency. Patients are usually admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital.

Expectations (prognosis)

Septic shock has a high death rate. The death rate depends on the patient’s age and overall health, the cause of the infection, how many organs have failed, and how quickly and aggressively medical therapy is started.

Review

Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 1/14/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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