Sepsis is a systemic inflammatory response to a severe infection. The inflammatory response triggers a rapid cascade of events, such as leaking blood vessels and impaired blood flow.

Severe sepsis is associated with a drop in blood pressure. Low blood pressure reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients going to the body's organs. This drop causes damage the body's major organs.

Septic shock occurs when adequate blood pressure can't be restored despite treatment with IV fluids. Septic shock may lead to multiple organ failure and death.

Septic shock is caused by an infection that overwhelms the body. Sepsis can be triggered by many different kinds of infections including:

  • Bacterial—most common
  • Fungal infections
  • Viral
  • Parasitic

Lung sepsis infant
An infection of the lungs has spread throughout the body, leading to septic shock.
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Complications from septic shock may cause symptoms of: