Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) (cont.)

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How do physicians diagnose toxic shock syndrome?

In general, after the history and physical, if the patient has low blood pressure and multiorgan involvement characterized by two of the above listed symptoms of organ dysfunction (renal, lung, liver, skin, or blood), the clinical diagnosis of TSS is made, according to CDC criteria. A confirmation of the diagnosis is done by isolation of bacteria from a normally sterile site; the bacteria should be identified as capable of producing exotoxin that either is, or functions like, TSST-1.

What is the treatment for toxic shock syndrome?

The treatment for TSS varies from patient to patient; however, the following treatments are fairly common. Patients with TSS usually will be treated with two or more of the following treatments:

  • Intravenous fluids to treat shock
  • IV antibiotics
  • Deep surgical cleaning of any infected wounds
  • Cardiac medications to help treat low blood pressure
  • Oxygen and/or mechanical ventilation as needed
  • Blood products if needed
  • Dialysis for patients with kidney failure
  • Hospitalization in an intensive-care unit

What is the prognosis of toxic shock syndrome?

Patients with TSS who are diagnosed early and given appropriate treatment often have a good prognosis. Early treatment can help prevent complications such as renal failure, respiratory failure, and coagulation disorders. However, the mortality (death) rate is about 5%-15%, and patients who develop complications have a poorer prognosis than those who do not. Patients who develop TSS are at risk for reinfection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2014

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