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Crit Care Clin. 1989 Jan;5(1):1-8.

The septic syndrome. Definition and clinical implications.

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Department of Medicine, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.


The septic syndrome can be defined using clinical criteria in patients with clinical evidence of an infectious process. The other criteria include fever or hypothermia, tachypnea, tachycardia, and evidence of impaired organ perfusion or function as manifested by either altered mentation, hypoxemia, elevated plasma lactate, or oliguria. A multicenter trial using these criteria found positive blood cultures in 45 per cent of 382 patients. The mortality rate was approximately 30 per cent and 25 per cent of the patients developed ARDS. With respect to these characteristics, this septic syndrome population was very similar to the more traditionally defined populations with sepsis. Using the septic syndrome definition may allow for earlier detection of septic patients and possibly allow for earlier therapeutic intervention. The septic syndrome may help identify a population of patients at risk for the various complications of sepsis (that is, ARDS), aid in the search for pathophysiologic mechanisms, and allow for pharmacological trials earlier in the disease process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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