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Am J Surg. 1994 Jan;167(1A):7S-10S; discussion 10S-11S.

What is infection?

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Division of Technology Planning, Mallinckrodt Medical, St. Louis, Missouri 63134.


Wound colonization by bacteria is not always the same as invasive infection. Furthermore, the classic definition of infection does not always aid the clinician in determining whether a patient is in the process of developing life-threatening sepsis. Although research efforts have focused on identification and quantification of organisms involved, the predictive value of this variable is limited. Other variables, such as the nature of the organism, nature of the wound, and nature of the host's defense mechanisms must also be considered. For instance, large acute wounds have been found to react differently to skin flora organisms than small, chronic, ulcerative wounds. Careful and frequent patient and wound assessment is still required to predict if and when offending organisms, their toxins, or both reach sufficient concentrations to overwhelm their local host defenses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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