Medical Definition of Multiple system failure

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Multiple system failure: The failure of two or more systems in the body as, for example, the cardiovascular and renal systems. Multiple system failure is also known as multiple organ failure, as when both the heart and kidney give out. Multiple organ or system failure is often given as the cause of death on the death certificate. However, the National Center for Health Statistics recommends that: "When a number of conditions or multiple organ/system failure resulted in death, the physician, medical examiner, or coroner should choose a single sequence to describe the process leading to death and list the other conditions... "

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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