What is "sepsis"? How does it cause death?

1 Answer
Oct 29, 2016

Sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body's response to infection injures its own tissues and organs.


Sepsis is caused by an immune response triggered by an infection. The infection is most commonly bacterial, but it can be from fungi , viruses or parasites .

Usually the immune system keeps an infection limited to one place. In case of sepsis it the immune system is weak or an infection is particularly severe, it can quickly spread through the blood into the other parts of the body. This causes the immune system to go into overdrive and inflammation affects the entire body.

Widespread inflammation damages tissues and interferes with blood flow. The interruption of blood flow leads to a dangerous drop in blood pressure , which stops oxygen reaching organs and tissues.

Approximately 20%to 30% of people with sepsis and 30% to 70% of people with severe septic shock die. The severity of underlying disease most strongly influences the risk of death.