Septic Shock

What is Septic Shock?

Septic shock is a life-threatening condition caused by a severe infection. It is a type of distributive shock that is caused when bacteria enter the body, travel throughout the bloodstream, and cause an overwhelming immune response. The body’s immune system responds by releasing inflammatory substances, which lead to a septic shock.

In septic shock, the body’s organs and tissues don't receive enough oxygen and nutrients to function properly. This causes tissue death (organ failure) and low blood pressure (hypotension). Septic shock can be fatal if not treated quickly.

What Are The Symptoms Of Septic Shock?

Common symptoms of sepsis can include:

  • Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or sweaty skin
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure

What Are The Causes Of Septic Shock?

Septic shock is usually caused by bacterial infections, such as those that can occur during surgery, as a result of an accidental injection of bacteria, or from a urinary tract or lung infection. Other bacterial causes of septic shock include meningitis, endocarditis, and septic arthritis. Septic shock can also be caused by some viruses and fungi.

How Is Septic Shock Treated?

Treatment for septic shock requires early recognition of symptoms and immediate treatment with antibiotics and medications to raise the patient’s blood pressure. Many patients will require intensive care, and may need oxygen, intravenous fluids, and even mechanical ventilation. Some patients may also need to be put on dialysis if their kidneys begin to fail. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the source of infection.