Alternative names: Septicemia. The term septicemia is no longer used by the consensus committee.
It may precede or coincide with infections of the bone, central nervous system or other tissues.
Onset of sepsis is heralded by spiking fevers and chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, the outward appearance of being seriously ill (toxic) and a feeling of impending doom. These symptoms rapidly progress to shock with decreased body temperature (hypothermia), falling blood pressure, confusion or other changes in the mental status, and clotting abnormalities evidenced by hemorrhagic lesions in the skin.
Sepsis can rapidly lead to septic shock and death, being associated with organisms such as meningococci that can lead to shock, adrenal collapse and disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Infection of the heart valve can spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, causing infection in the blood (septicemia) and in other parts of the body.
Certain bacteria, including pneumococcus and haemophilus, that are usually confined to local infections may become blood-borne (septic) and widespread in splenectomized persons. To avoid this potentially fatal situation, they are usually instructed to seek medical attention promptly for all fevers or obvious infections.
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