A clinical syndrome of severe illness related to overwhelming infection


  • Can originate from any site in the body


  • Systemic illness due to infection
  • Precise cause varies based on host risk factors, pathogens involved, target organ(s) affected

Risk Factors

  • Cancer
  • More common amongst elderly
  • Compromised by DM, chronic kidney, liver, lung or heart disease
  • Compromised by meds--> steroids, chemotherapy, other immune modulating agents
  • Smoking, ETOH other toxin eposures


  • Sweats, chills
  • Confusion
  • Fever or hypothermia
  • Decreased level of consciousness
  • Additional symptoms may be present based on organs affected

Physical Exam Findings

  • Low BP
  • Elevated HR
  • Often ill appearing
  • Febrile or low temperature
  • Can be warm peripherally from inappropriate vasodilatation
  • Specific target organ(s) dysfxn may be apparent on exam