Sepsis (main): Difference between revisions

(Text replacement - "qd" to "QD")
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*DIC panel (fibrinogen, D-dimer, FDP)
*?CT head/LP
**DIC panel (fibrinogen, D-dimer, FDP)
*?TSH (thyroid storm)
*?Cosyntropin stim vs. random cortisol (adrenal insufficiency)
**[[CT head]] and/or [[LP]
*?Pelvic exam (toxic shock, tampon)  
**TSH (thyroid storm)
*?Influenza rapid  
**Cosyntropin stim vs. random cortisol (adrenal insufficiency)
*?CT Abd/Pelvis (abscess, other)
**Pelvic exam (toxic shock, tampon)  
*?spine imaging (epidural abscess, other)
**[[Influenza]] rapid testing
**CT Abd/Pelvis (abscess, other)
**spine imaging (epidural abscess, other)

==Time Specific Management==
==Time Specific Management==

Revision as of 03:22, 29 November 2017


  • Sepsis should be defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection[1]
  • The infection is most commonly by bacteria, but can also be by fungi, viruses, or parasites[2]
  • Risk of death from sepsis being as high as 30%, severe sepsis as high as 50%, and septic shock as high as 80% [3]
  • The most common primary sources of infection resulting in sepsis are the lungs, the abdomen, and the urinary tract[4]
  • Sepsis caries a 40% in hospital mortality[1]

Definition Changes

In 2016 new definitions were adopted for the evaluation and diagnosis of Sepsis, Sever Sepsis and Septic shock[5]

Old definition New 2016 definition
Sepsis 2 SIRS + suspected infection Life threatening organ dysfunction caused by dysregulated host response to infection. Suspected/documented infection + 2 on the qSOFA:
  • Hypotensionwith SBP <100 or
  • altered mental status or
  • Tachypnea (RR >/=22) OR
  • Increase in SOFA score by 2 points
Severe sepsis *Sepsis +
  • SBP< 90 or
  • MAP <65 lactate >2 or
  • INR >1.5 or
  • Bili>2 or
  • Urine output <0.5ml/kg/h
  • Creatinine>2.2 or
  • Platelets <100 or
  • SpO@<90%
No longer a category
Septic shock Sepsis + hypotension after adequate fluid resuscitation Sepsis + vasopressors needed to maintain MAP>65 + lactate >2

qSOFA Score

Quick Sequential (Sepsis Related) Organ Failure Assessment Score

  • Respiratory rate of 22/min or greater (+1 Point)
  • Altered mentation (+1 Point)
  • Systolic blood pressure of 100 mm Hg or less (+1 Point)

SOFA Score

  • The SOFA is generally used in the ICU and can stratify the mortality of patients based on the initial score and subsequent changes in score

Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) Criteria

  • Still acceptable to use in ED depending on local protocol
  • Misses up to 1/8 very septic ICU patients[6]

  • ≥2 of 4 criteria must be present:
  1. Temperature >38°C (100.4F) or <36°C (96.9F)
  2. HR >90 BPM
  3. RR >20 breaths/minute or PaCO2 <32 mmHg
  4. WBC count >12,000/mm3, <4,000/mm3, or >10% bands/immature forms

Clinical Features


Life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection. This only needs to include one of the following:[7]

  • Hypotensionwith SBP <100 or
  • altered mental status or
  • Tachypnea (RR >/=22) OR
  • Increase in SOFA score by 2 points

Septic shock

Patients with sepsis and any of the following:[1]

  1. Vasopressor requirement to maintain a mean arterial pressure > 65 mm Hg
  2. Serum lactate level greater than 2 mmol/L (>18mg/dL) in the absence of hypovolemia.

Differential Diagnosis




  • CBC
  • Urinalysis/Urine culture
  • Blood culture
  • CXR
  • Chem
  • LFT
  • Lipase
  • VBG
  • Lactate
  • Coags
  • Consider:
    • Procalcitonin
    • DIC panel (fibrinogen, D-dimer, FDP)
    • T&S
    • CT head and/or [[LP]
    • TSH (thyroid storm)
    • Cosyntropin stim vs. random cortisol (adrenal insufficiency)
    • Pelvic exam (toxic shock, tampon)
    • Influenza rapid testing
    • CT Abd/Pelvis (abscess, other)
    • spine imaging (epidural abscess, other)

Time Specific Management

Time of presentation is defined as the time of triage in the emergency department

3 hour goals[8]

  • Measure lactate level
  • Obtain blood cultures prior to administration of antibiotics
  • Administer broad spectrum antibiotics
  • Administer 30ml/kg crystalloid for hypotension or lactate ≥4mmol/L

6 hour goals[8]

  • Apply vasopressors (for hypotension that does not respond to initial fluid resuscitation) to maintain a mean arterial pressure (MAP) ≥65mmHg
  • If persistent hypotension after initial fluid administration (MAP < 65 mm Hg) or if initial lactate was ≥4 mmol/L, reassess volume status and tissue perfusion:
    • Option 1: Focused Exam
      • Vital signs
      • Cardiopulmonary Exam
      • Capillary Refill
      • Peripheral Pulse
      • Skin Exam
    • Option 2: Two of the following
      • Measure CVP (IVC ultrasound) with following goals:
        • >8 cmH2O, not intubated
        • >12 cmH2O, intubated
      • Measure ScvO
      • Bedside cardiovascular ultrasound
      • Dynamic assessment of fluid responsiveness with passive leg raise or fluid challenge

A central line and measurement of ScvO2 is not required and does not impact mortality[9][10][11]

Circulation Managment


  • Reassess after each bolus
  • Average is 5-6L within first 6 hr
  • Positive fluid balance in the first two days of ICU admission is not associated with increased mortality[12]
    • However, positive fluid balance at day 3 of hospital admission is independently associated with increased mortality
  • Careful reassessment of volume status is required in in patients with significantly depressed ejection fraction
  • Consider assessing diastolic dysfunction via echo in CHF patients in whom IVC ultrasound is not reliable


  • Indicated if MAP<60 despite adequate IVF or if IVF are contraindicated
  • Best if given when the vascular space is filled; ok if it is not


  • Norepinephrine (5-20mcg/min) - 1st line[13]
  • Epinephrine (1-20 mcg/min) - 2nd line
  • Vasopressin (0.03 units/minute fixed dose) can be added to norepinephrine (NE)
  • Dopamine should be used hesitantly and only in highly selected patients (eg, patients with low risk of tachyarrhythmias and absolute or relative bradycardia)
    • Do not use Low-dose dopamine for renal protection
    • Dopamine may have increased mortality rates compared to other vasopressors, especially in the pediatric septic patient[14]
  • Phenylephrine should not be used for treating septic shock except if:
    • Norepinephrine is associated with serious arrhythmias
    • Cardiac output is known to be high and blood pressure persistently low
    • As salvage therapy when combined inotrope/vasopressor drugs and low dose vasopressin have failed to achieve MAP target
  • Milrinone
  • Methylene blue consideration for septic shock refractory to catecholaminergic pressors


  • Dobutamine (2-20mcg/kg/min) may be added if:
    • Myocardial dysfunction as suggested by elevated cardiac filling pressures and low cardiac output
    • Ongoing signs of hypoperfusion, despite achieving adequate intravascular volume and adequate MAP


  • Controversial and only shown to relieve shock faster in those who have resolution of shock but may increase the risk of infection
    • Consider hydrocortisone 50-100mg in ED (200-300mg QD in 2-4x/d dosing) if pressor/fluid resistant (SBP < 90 persistently)
  • ACTH cosyntropin testing likely unreliable in critically ill patients
  • Do not administer steroids for the treatment of sepsis in the absence of shock


  • One single-center RCT showing ~40% reduction in mortality when esmolol paired with norepinephrine infusion, with goal HR 80 - 95 BPM[15]
  • All patients were fluid resuscitated, intubated, given hydrocortisone 300 mg/day
  • Will require further multi-center RCTs to confirm findings

Infection Control

  • Source Control
  • Remove infected lines, surgery if indicated


Blood Products


Only transfuse RBCs when hemoglobin decreases to <7.0 g/dL (goal is 7.0 –9.0 g/dL in adults)


Do not use erythropoietin as a specific treatment of anemia associated with severe sepsis


  • In severe sepsis, administer platelets prophylactically when counts are <10,000/mm3 (10 x 109/L) in the absence of apparent bleeding
  • If < 20,000/mm3 (20 x 109/L) and significant risk of bleeding then administer platelets.
  • <50,000/mm3 (50 x 109/L) if there is active bleeding, planned surgery or other procedures.


  • Admit, possibly to step-down or ICU

External Links

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Singer, Melvyn et al. The Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3). JAMA. 2016;315(8):801-810. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0287
  2. Jui, Jonathan (2011). "Ch. 146: Septic Shock". In Tintinalli, Judith E.; Stapczynski, J. Stephan; Ma, O. John; Cline, David M. et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 1003–14.
  3. Jawad, I; Lukšić, I; Rafnsson, SB (June 2012). "Assessing available information on the burden of sepsis: Global estimates of incidence, prevalence and mortality". Journal of Global Health 2 (1): 010404. doi:10.7189/jogh.02.010404 (inactive 2015-02-02). PMC 3484761. PMID 23198133 full text
  4. Munford, Robert S.; Suffredini, Anthony F. (2014). "Ch. 75: Sepsis, Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock". In Bennett, John E.; Dolin, Raphael; Blaser, Martin J.. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases (8th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 914–34.
  5. Seymour, C. Assessment of Clinical Criteria for Sepsis For the Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3). JAMA. 2016;315(8):762-774. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0288.
  6. Kaukonen KM, Bailey M, Bellomo R. Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Criteria for Severe Sepsis. The New England journal of medicine. 373(9):881. 2015.
  7. Seymour, C. Assessment of Clinical Criteria for Sepsis For the Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3). JAMA. 2016;315(8):762-774. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0288.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Surviving Sepsis Updated Bundles in Response to New Evidence full text
  9. ProCESS Investigators,Yealy DM, Kellum JA, Juang DT, et al.A randomized trial of protocol-based care for earlyseptic shock. N Engl J Med 2014;370(18):1683-1693 Full Text
  10. The ARISE Investigators and the ANZICS Clinical Trials Group. Goal-directed resuscitation for patients with early septic shock. N Engl J Med2014; 371:1496-1506
  11. Mouncey PR, Osborn TM, Power GS, et al for the ProMISe trial investigators. Trial of early, goal-directed resuscitation for septic shock. N Engl J Med 2015:DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1500896
  12. Sakr Y et al. Higher Fluid Balance Increases the Risk of Death From Sepsis: Results From a Large International Audit. Critical care medicine. 45(3):386-394, Mar 2017.
  13. EBQ:SOAP II Trial
  14. Ventura AM, Shieh HH, Bousso A, Goes PF, Fernandes IC, de Souza DC, et al. Double-Blind Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial of Dopamine Versus Epinephrineas First-Line Vasoactive Drugs in Pediatric Septic Shock. Crit Care Med 2015;43:2292-302.
  15. Andrea Morelli et al. Effect of Heart Rate Control With Esmolol on Hemodynamic and Clinical Outcomes in Patients With Septic Shock: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2013;310(16):1683-1691.