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Neurohospitalist. 2012 Oct;2(4):144-53. doi: 10.1177/1941874412453338.

Sepsis: a review for the neurohospitalist.

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Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Critical Care, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA.


Sepsis represents a major challenge in medicine. It begins as a systemic response to infection that can affect virtually any organ system, including the central and peripheral nervous systems. Akin to management of stroke, early recognition and treatment of sepsis are just as crucial to a successful outcome. Sepsis can precipitate myasthenic crisis and lead to encephalopathy and critical illness neuropathy. Stroke and traumatic brain injury can predispose a patient to develop sepsis, whereas Guillain-Barré syndrome is similarly not uncommon following infection. This review article will first describe the essential principles of sepsis recognition, pathophysiology, and management and will then briefly cover the neurologic aspects associated with sepsis. Vigilant awareness of the clinical features of sepsis and timeliness of intervention can help clinicians prevent progression of this disease to a multisystem organ failure, which can be difficult to reverse even after the original source of infection is under control.


neurocritical care; sepsis; septic shock

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