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Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition that arises when the body’s response to infection becomes dysregulated, leading to systemic inflammation, tissue damage, and multiple organ dysfunction. It represents a critical challenge in modern medicine, both in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Early recognition and diagnosis of sepsis are crucial for effective treatment.
Sepsis typically begins with the invasion of pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi, into the bloodstream. These pathogens release various toxins and molecules, which trigger an immune response. In a normal immune response, the body deploys white blood cells and molecules like cytokines to contain the infection at the site of invasion.
Cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), are released in excessive amounts, leading to widespread inflammation throughout the body. This uncontrolled inflammation can result in damage to vital organs and tissues. As sepsis progresses, it can lead to multi organ dysfunction syndrome, particularly affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. MODS is a severe complication of sepsis and is associated with high mortality rates.
Early recognition and diagnosis of sepsis are crucial for effective treatment. Clinicians use clinical signs, laboratory tests, and imaging studies to identify sepsis. The Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score and the quick SOFA (qSOFA) criteria are commonly used tools to assess the severity of organ dysfunction.