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Concept: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome


Our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of sepsis has advanced over the last decade, and evidence-based protocols have improved its outcomes. Here, we review its management in the first hours and afterward, including topics of ongoing study and debate.

Concepts: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Shock, Septic shock, Sepsis


BACKGROUND: The mortality rate of patients complicated with sepsis-associated organ failure remains high in spite of intensive care treatment. The purpose of this study was to define the duration of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) before organ failure (DSOF) and determine the value of DSOF as a prognostic factor in septic patients. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study was conducted in an 11-bed medical and surgical intensive care unit (ICU) in a university hospital. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality of the septic patients. RESULTS: One hundred ten septic patients with organ failure and/or shock were enrolled in this study. The in-hospital mortality rate was 36.9%. The median DSOF was 28.5 h. As a metric variable, DSOF was a statistically significant prognostic factor according to univariate analysis (survivor: 74.7 +/- 9.6 h, non-survivor: 58.8 +/- 16.5 h, p = 0.015). On the basis of the ROC curve, we defined an optimal cutoff of 24 h, with which we divided the patients as follows: group 1 (n = 50) comprised patients with a DSOF <=24 h, and group 2 (n = 60) contained patients with a DSOF >24 h. There were statistically significant differences in the in-hospital mortality rate between the two groups (52.0% vs. 25.0%, p = 0.004). Furthermore, by multivariate analysis, DSOF <=24 h (odds ratio: 5.89, 95% confidence interval: 1.46-23.8, p = 0.013) was a significant independent prognostic factor. CONCLUSION: DSOF may be a useful prognostic factor for severe sepsis.

Concepts: Inflammation, Cohort study, Statistics, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Multivariate statistics, Septic shock, Sepsis


Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock represent increasingly severe systemic inflammatory responses to infection. Sepsis is common in the aging population, and it disproportionately affects patients with cancer and underlying immunosuppression. In its most severe form, sepsis causes multiple organ dysfunction that can produce a state of chronic critical illness characterized by severe immune dysfunction and catabolism. Much has been learnt about the pathogenesis of sepsis at the molecular, cell, and intact organ level. Despite uncertainties in hemodynamic management and several treatments that have failed in clinical trials, investigational therapies increasingly target sepsis induced organ and immune dysfunction. Outcomes in sepsis have greatly improved overall, probably because of an enhanced focus on early diagnosis and fluid resuscitation, the rapid delivery of effective antibiotics, and other improvements in supportive care for critically ill patients. These improvements include lung protective ventilation, more judicious use of blood products, and strategies to reduce nosocomial infections.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Pneumonia, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, Septic shock, Sepsis


Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and sepsis are now frequently identified by observations of vital signs and detection of organ failure during triage in the emergency room. However, there is less focus on the effect on patient outcome with better observation and treatment at the ward level.

Concepts: Inflammation, Hospital, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Philosophy of science, Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, Septic shock, Sepsis


Systemic inflammation is a whole body reaction having an infection-positive (i.e., sepsis) or infection-negative origin. It is important to distinguish between these two etiologies early and accurately because this has significant therapeutic implications for critically ill patients. We hypothesized that a molecular classifier based on peripheral blood RNAs could be discovered that would (1) determine which patients with systemic inflammation had sepsis, (2) be robust across independent patient cohorts, (3) be insensitive to disease severity, and (4) provide diagnostic utility. The goal of this study was to identify and validate such a molecular classifier.

Concepts: Inflammation, Medicine, Medical terms, Patient, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Illness, Observation, Sepsis


Background The consensus definition of severe sepsis requires suspected or proven infection, organ failure, and signs that meet two or more criteria for the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). We aimed to test the sensitivity, face validity, and construct validity of this approach. Methods We studied data from patients from 172 intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand from 2000 through 2013. We identified patients with infection and organ failure and categorized them according to whether they had signs meeting two or more SIRS criteria (SIRS-positive severe sepsis) or less than two SIRS criteria (SIRS-negative severe sepsis). We compared their characteristics and outcomes and assessed them for the presence of a step increase in the risk of death at a threshold of two SIRS criteria. Results Of 1,171,797 patients, a total of 109,663 had infection and organ failure. Among these, 96,385 patients (87.9%) had SIRS-positive severe sepsis and 13,278 (12.1%) had SIRS-negative severe sepsis. Over a period of 14 years, these groups had similar characteristics and changes in mortality (SIRS-positive group: from 36.1% [829 of 2296 patients] to 18.3% [2037 of 11,119], P<0.001; SIRS-negative group: from 27.7% [100 of 361] to 9.3% [122 of 1315], P<0.001). Moreover, this pattern remained similar after adjustment for baseline characteristics (odds ratio in the SIRS-positive group, 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.96 to 0.97; odds ratio in the SIRS-negative group, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94 to 0.98; P=0.12 for between-group difference). In the adjusted analysis, mortality increased linearly with each additional SIRS criterion (odds ratio for each additional criterion, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.15; P<0.001) without any transitional increase in risk at a threshold of two SIRS criteria. Conclusions The need for two or more SIRS criteria to define severe sepsis excluded one in eight otherwise similar patients with infection, organ failure, and substantial mortality and failed to define a transition point in the risk of death. (Funded by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre.).

Concepts: Inflammation, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Validity, Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, Septic shock, Sepsis


Severe sepsis and septic shock are among the leading causes of mortality in the intensive care unit. Over a decade ago, early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) emerged as a novel approach for reducing sepsis mortality and was incorporated into guidelines published by the international Surviving Sepsis Campaign. In addition to requiring early detection of sepsis and prompt initiation of antibiotics, the EGDT protocol requires invasive patient monitoring to guide resuscitation with intravenous fluids, vasopressors, red cell transfusions, and inotropes. The effect of these measures on patient outcomes, however, remains controversial. Recently, three large randomized trials were undertaken to re-examine the effect of EGDT on morbidity and mortality: the ProCESS trial in the United States, the ARISE trial in Australia and New Zealand, and the ProMISe trial in England. These trials showed that EGDT did not significantly decrease mortality in patients with septic shock compared with usual care. In particular, whereas early administration of antibiotics appeared to increase survival, tailoring resuscitation to static measurements of central venous pressure and central venous oxygen saturation did not confer survival benefit to most patients. In the following review, we examine these findings as well as other evidence from recent randomized trials of goal-directed resuscitation. We also discuss future areas of research and emerging paradigms in sepsis trials.

Concepts: Blood, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Intensive care medicine, Shock, Septic shock, Sepsis, Hypotension, Surviving Sepsis Campaign


Elizabethkingia meningoseptica is an infrequent colonizer of the respiratory tract; its pathogenicity is uncertain. In the context of a 22-month outbreak of E. meningoseptica acquisition affecting 30 patients in a London, UK, critical care unit (3% attack rate) we derived a measure of attributable morbidity and determined whether E. meningoseptica is an emerging nosocomial pathogen. We found monomicrobial E. meningoseptica acquisition (n = 13) to have an attributable morbidity rate of 54% (systemic inflammatory response syndrome >2, rising C-reactive protein, new radiographic changes), suggesting that E. meningoseptica is a pathogen. Epidemiologic and molecular evidence showed acquisition was water-source-associated in critical care but identified numerous other E. meningoseptica strains, indicating more widespread distribution than previously considered. Analysis of changes in gram-negative speciation rates across a wider London hospital network suggests this outbreak, and possibly other recently reported outbreaks, might reflect improved diagnostics and that E. meningoseptica thus is a pseudo-emerging pathogen.

Concepts: Inflammation, Epidemiology, Pneumonia, Measurement, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Linguistics, C-reactive protein, Outbreak


The global burden of sepsis is estimated as 15 to 19 million cases annually with a mortality rate approaching 60% in low income countries.

Concepts: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Vitamin, Septic shock, Sepsis


Local and systemic inflammatory responses are initiated early after traumatic brain injury (TBI), and may play a key role in the secondary injury processes resulting in neuronal loss and neurological deficits. However, the mechanisms responsible for the rapid expansion of neuroinflammation and its long-term progression have yet to be elucidated. Here, we investigate the role of microparticles (MP), a member of the extracellular vesicle family, in the exchange of pro-inflammatory molecules between brain immune cells, as well as their transfer to the systemic circulation, as key pathways of inflammation propagation following brain trauma.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Neuron, Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Cerebellum, Member of Parliament