Sepsis (Blood Poisoning)

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Sepsis (blood poisoning) facts

  • Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening medical condition that's associated with an infection; the infection's signs and symptoms must fulfill a minimum of two criteria of a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).
  • Blood poisoning is a nonmedical term that usually refers to the medical condition known as sepsis.
  • The major SIRS criteria are an increased heart rate, fever, and increased respiratory rate; the young and the elderly may show other early signs and symptoms of sepsis sometimes before exhibiting SIRS criteria.
  • The majority of cases of sepsis are due to bacterial infection.
  • Sepsis is treated with hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics, and therapy to support any organ dysfunction.
  • Prevention of infections and early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis are the best ways to prevent sepsis or reduce the problems sepsis causes.
  • The prognosis depends on the severity of sepsis as well as the underlying health status of the patient; in general, the elderly have the worst prognosis.

What is blood poisoning?

Blood poisoning is a nonspecific term used mainly by nonmedical individuals that describes, in the broadest sense, any adverse medical condition(s) due to the presence of any toxic agent in the blood. Usually, the layperson using the term blood poisoning is referring to the medical condition(s) that arise when bacteria or their products (or both) reach the blood. Blood poisoning is not a medical term and does not appear in many medical dictionaries or scientific publications. However, when it is used, the correct medical term that most closely matches its intended meaning is sepsis. Many medical authors consider the terms blood poisoning and sepsis to be interchangeable, but the trend in the medical literature is to use the term sepsis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2013

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Get the facts on the causes, risk factors, and treatment of neonatal sepsis.

Neonatal Sepsis (Sepsis Neonatorum)

Neonatal sepsis is any infection involving an infant during the first 28 days of life. Neonatal sepsis is also known as "sepsis neonatorum." The infection may involve the infant globally or may be limited to just one organ (such as the lungs with pneumonia).

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