Encyclopedia > Sepsis

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Sepsis, or septicemia, is a range of clinical conditions caused by the immune response of an organism to infection or trauma. It is characterized by systemic inflammation and coagulation and ranges from a simple inflammatory response to organ dysfunction or multiple organ failure, and ultimately death for many patients.

Sepsis is particulary common and dangerous in elderly, immunocompromised, and critically ill patients, where it is a major cause of death in intensive care units worldwide. In the United States, sepsis is the leading cause of death in noncoronary[?] ICU patients, while recent 1998 data from the Centers for Disease Control show that it is the 11th leading cause of death overall. Sepsis has been associated with mortality rates ranging from 28% to 50%

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